Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Building an RV park from scratch: Exciting things are happening here!

By Machelle James

Oh, exciting things are happening here in Heber-Overgaard! First and foremost, we finally received the site plan from the engineers that we liked! It made much more sense and we changed two of the roads to two-way roads! Now it flows so much better and will be easier for our campers to navigate. We also added two corral campsites to our plan: one for 3-4 RVs and one for 6-7 RVs.

We will drop off the plans to Planning and Zoning on Friday along with a Special Use Permit Application. This form, along with the Site Plan, is where we explain in detail what will go where, and visually and mentally give the Board a clear idea of what our campground will look like.

After we submit the paperwork, P&Z will come back with any changes we need to make based on their rules and regulations. Then we go back to the engineers for a Final Site Plan. Then the Board votes on it. After that the town and the community have a public meeting to discuss concerns as well to offer support.

While we wait for the changes required, we are starting our road trip! We leave here for Florida on Saturday. We have our whole truck filled with furniture and housewares that we are delivering to the kids.

Then, after a much-needed week of visiting with our son and his family, it’s off to the ARVC Convention in Knoxville, TN. We need to learn how to run our campground, and ARVC will teach us. They will offer different classes all day, all week long, and we choose what we want to learn about.

We already have had one Zoom presentation of a really interesting reservation system called Campspot. This new software system is intuitive and works efficiently and has more than we ever knew we needed. Example: When someone wants to reserve a campspot online, it will automatically shuffle spots around so there aren’t any gaps in days, if there are gaps. Of course it has to meet the requirements you need for your RV and slideouts. There is also a “lock”-your-campsite feature where you pay a small fee to reserve a particular spot you want. This meaning your reservation can’t be changed while the system shuffles sites around to maximize space, and it will generate a little extra income.

Also while we are in Knoxville, we signed up for other reservation software presentations. We need to know what’s going to work best for us and our campground and then we can make a decision. It’s going to be super-interesting to see what the competition has to offer, as the one we saw seemed to have everything!

Remember when I mentioned in the last article that our wood delivery failed to show up? Well, the men went and bought a permit and cut down dead trees. It was insane as I watched the videos the guys took! There is definitely a science to it so the tree falls the right way.

We also bought a log splitter from a neighbor who was moving away. I can’t believe we used to chop wood up by hand. This machine is a beast! We cut up an entire tree in a few hours! The smell of the fire in our home is intoxicating! I am FINALLY getting used to smelling like a firepit every day!

The local Heber-Overgaard news is since I joined my ladies group, we have had more activities planned than I can attend! Last week was the Witches Brew Campfire gathering. These ladies do not mess around with their costumes! It was a great success and lots of sharing and getting to know each other. I also have ladies who want to help our campers with arts and crafts, horseback riding, singing and talent show ideas for our kiddos. I am overwhelmed with gratitude!

I have so much support that I am truly feeling the love here. After a few online hecklers were bringing me down, I was reminded by these ladies (and other officials) that our campground is supported by so many locals and people from all over the country. Planning and Zoning confirmed we are in the right Zoning and to NOT listen to the naysayers. I was told they want us to succeed and they will help us with getting the verbiage and plan put together right so we can show the Board of Supervisors and the locals what it will look like. As soon as it gets approved, I’ll post the drawing here so you can see it too! So much excitement, so little time!

Thank you for following our campground journey and as always, “See you in the Trees!”

Also, please leave a comment!

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.




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Linda (@guest_54999)
4 years ago

So excited for y’all! Things are starting to fall into place for your campground! One day we’ll be there to see it in person, I’m sure!

Machelle James (@guest_55063)
4 years ago
Reply to  Linda

Hi Linda! Thank you so much for your support! I do hope you’ll come up and visit us!

Jay (@guest_54983)
4 years ago

Wonderful news. I’m thrilled for you and love that the townspeople are supporting you all in this amazing experience. One question I have is wi-fi. As a full-timer, visiting over 50 parks each spring/summer/fall, I find it hard to understand why so many of parks who call themselves “Resorts” and charge $50 + per night offer free wi-fi that is non-existant. When you get to the point where you are selecting wifi service for your park, pls share with us what the options are and the considerations that you have for choosing a service.

rick louderbough (@guest_54883)
4 years ago

We’re in abq, can’t wait to get a piece of pie in Pie town and then visit your wonderful sounding park. Cannot stress enough Margo S comment of moving the wood away from your home wall. Do it today !

Machelle James (@guest_54967)
4 years ago

Hi Rick! Oh yeah, we passed Pie Town going to Texas yesterday! We WILL stop on the way back and grab a pie. The town of Tinnin looked so pretty. That was my favorite scenery so far. Those trees! So peaceful and quaint!! And yes, we will move the wood as soon as we get back. Thank you for your feedback!.

Jay (@guest_54981)
4 years ago

Where do you get the pie? A pie shop in ABQ?

Machelle James (@guest_55058)
4 years ago
Reply to  Jay

In Pie Town, NM..google it! Its a whole town that is very Pie oriented! Festivals,.cafe’s….Its a thing 😀

Margo S. (@guest_54873)
4 years ago

Don’t leave the wood on your porch Many critters would infest the wood and possibly get into your home. There are many designs of elevated wood storage that will work better.

Machelle James (@guest_54966)
4 years ago
Reply to  Margo S.

Hi Margo! We both agree, as we have our woodshed coming as soon as we get back from the conference. We will move it away from the house asap! Thank you for the advice Margo!

peterb (@guest_55146)
4 years ago
Reply to  Margo S.

wood on porch and against cabin a big No No

Thomas Becher (@guest_54825)
4 years ago

Not the shoes I’d be wearing to split wood. TRUST ME on that one.
If you’re going to continue that job, invest in some steel toed shoes. I’ve got two toes that are still black and blue. ” I won’t need safty shoes, I know what I’m doing” WRONG.

Machelle James (@guest_54965)
4 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Becher

That’s funny you say that! After that long day, AJ and I both said we need steel toed boots next time! I went and bought a pair. I will wear them from now on Thomas!

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