By Machelle James
My Oh My, did we have a very successful last two weeks! Thanks to you, our readers, friends and family, we raised more than $4,700 through GoFundMe! Thank you for your generosity, support and mostly the kindest words we’ve heard so far. Your belief in us and your “Go get ‘er done” attitude was truly a blessing for us to get the fencing done. With 56 of you donating, you will be honored within our Campground with your names etched in a very special location when we open!
We also came up with a solution for our fire pits, since many of you had fantastic ideas for us. We decided to repurpose the thousands of rocks that came out of the ground from digging for our septic tank. We will build fire pits out of those rocks and that will only cost us time to complete that project. Why didn’t we think of that earlier? It will fit in nicely, too, with the surroundings – and it fits our budget!
Our surveyor came out again and placed the stakes where the fencing goes as well as where the roads will go. AJ and I went to work and placed the “feathers” (markers that you stick in the ground that you can drive over and they don’t get destroyed) where they needed to go. We now can see where the first two roads will be and where the first 20 camping spots will be, including several buddy sites.
All I can say is WOW! WOW these camping spaces ended up being even bigger than we thought they would be. They are averaging 70 ft. wide x 100 ft. long at a 45-degree angle from the road. Walking through each site and seeing how far away you are from your neighbor was thrilling for us! We’ve heard you all loud and clear say, “We want to have space when we camp!”
This is all falling into place as we received our approval from Navopache Electric (our local electric company) for our plans. As soon as they receive payment from us, we will have a pre-construction meeting with them and our crew. This is to confirm where the primary lines and the transformers are going.
This is perfect timing as we also received our bid from the new crew who is coming out to do the excavation work. Now there is A LOT of work to be done in this area. From removing tree stumps to digging in the road where the septic, electric and water lines will be. They also will grade, fill and compact the roads and each RV camping pad with gravel.
This work is expected to last for 6-8 weeks, depending on the weather. We also were told they are coming out the first week of March to start digging and to back-fill the septic tank area. We are confident we will be able to be open by Memorial Weekend, 2021.
Before our new crew can do their part, the challenge will be to have Tractor Tim come out and grub each site. That means he will come in and remove the bushes that are in the way and keep the ones that aren’t.
We also need to determine where each RV parking pad will be placed, based on trees on each space. We are really trying to keep as many trees as we can and we have the flexibility to move the pads around each space to honor our trees! He was supposed to start this week, but not anymore, thanks to the weather.
We FINALLY had major snowstorms come through for days on end. Great for the trees, not good conditions for a tractor to be working in due to slipping and sliding all over the place. We had about 18” of snow over the past 3 days and it was breathtaking! We have light fluffy snow that you can barely even make into a snowball yet.
We took Jenna out in the snow to play and we all had a great time walking through the fresh powder and making snow angels. With a lot of work, we did make a couple snowballs and she pegged AJ and me pretty good.
You know what’s so awesome about all of this? I had commented on Facebook with a video about the snowfall we’ve had here on our property. It was a private group for people who camp in Arizona. I shared a video of the property and said, “We are the family building a Campground up North and this is the snow we had!” Let’s just say the people went crazy when they read we were opening a Campground here in Arizona.
I had tons of messages and emails to answer as they don’t know what you all know. I already have names for people that want to stay 28 days, which, as you know, is our limit! I feel relieved, validated, and secure in knowing we will be very full when we do open. Even the scaled-back version will be fantastic to get families up here camping and back to nature.
We have a few weeks before the madness begins, and we had an opportunity to make travel plans. Our middle son and his family needed another car and we just happen to have one that we barely use since we moved here. So we offered my Mazda to him. The catch is we drive it across the country to Florida(!) before we start the major digging in March. Then we get to visit with him, his wife and our granddaughter! As a Thank-You, he bought us plane tickets home – and I can’t say I’m torn up about leaving the snow for Florida for a couple weeks.
While things will start to move very quickly in the next month, I will keep you updated with before and after photos. We are so ready to move forward and get this Campground open. We know you are too.
Thank You for following our campground journey and See You in the Trees!
And please leave a comment!
AJ, Machelle and Jenna
Read previous articles here.
Machelle James and her husband, AJ, are building, from the ground up, a 15-acre RV park in Heber-Overgaard, Arizona, in the beautiful White Mountains 140 miles from Phoenix. Follow them on Facebook @ AJ’s Getaway RV Park or on Instagram at ajsgetawayrvpark.