Monday, December 4, 2023


Building an RV park from scratch: We had a party! And an update on park plans

By Machelle James

What I am learning living here in a small town is patience. I was told we would have the first set of park plans before this week’s article and we did not physically get them until yesterday! I have to remember that our timeline is definitely not as important to other people as it is to us. It seems to be more of a super-relaxed schedule where communication is not relayed in a timely manner. And when we did pick up our plans, they were only half completed.

There were no spots for partial hookups or the bathroom areas. So we are going to show you the plan we received. Just know it is NOT completed. We can’t submit this plan to Planning and Zoning as it is not accurate.  What you can see, though, is the road infrastructure and the space we have to work with. What I love about this view is being able to see the trees, what we can keep, and what needs to be taken down. You can also see the elevation and where the septic and drainage will be.

It is a start for us to finish penciling in what we want to go where on the property. Hopefully by our next article we will have more of an update.

Over Labor Day Weekend we had several friends come up and visit from the valley. We celebrated Jenna’s birthday here and boy did we have a great turnout! We went trail riding and found some awesome trails to share with our guests when we are open.

We found a new rock crawling area that opened up to the most beautiful meadow. We also marked the easier trails for our campers who want to take it nice and slow and just enjoy the scenery.

While out in the middle of nowhere, our friend popped a tire on his ATV. As luck would have it, a downpour came over us and we were soaked to the bone! Talk about being unprepared! We looked at the weather app and it said 15% chance of rain. So we didn’t think much about it. Nope. 100% chance of rain for over an hour. It was our own fault as we have rain gear, but it is somewhere packed away in storage! Note to self: Find and pack our rain gear!

I also recruited our friends while they were here to help make signage to announce our Campground coming next summer. I had numerous people private message me about how happy they were to finally see family camping here in the area.

We also have had several business propositions to join others in their vision of family camping. We are pretty open-minded when it comes to listening to what others would like to see up here on the mountain. The support we have seen and felt from other businesses and locals confirms we made a wonderful decision to open our family RV park here.

This week we have plans to install our flooring and get our countertops installed as well. The weather will start changing in a week and I want to start moving into our home by the end of the month.

Since I have never lived in snow, I am learning how to heat our home. We have a wood-burning fireplace for the living/dining area and electric baseboard heaters for the bedrooms. We still need to purchase many items for when the electricity goes out as we were told it always goes out during winter. We need a backup generator, 2 to 3 cords of wood, snow shovels, salt for the ice, heat tape, canned goods, extra water, flashlights, lantern lights, candles, warm blankets, waterproof boots, and basically learning to be prepared to be snowed in.

Living in Phoenix, that was never an issue. You simply turned on the gas heater and went about your business. Here, it’s a way of life. Snow and ice. For being only 2 hours away from the valley, it’s pretty amazing how the weather is so vastly different. I am excited and nervous about having our first winter here. We fully plan on working on our campground during winter so it can be open next summer. Maybe after this winter, we will determine if we need a snowmobile!

Thank you for following our journey and for your support.

As always, see you in the trees. And please leave a comment!

You can find 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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Thomas Becher (@guest_52568)
4 years ago

Too bad you have to deal with half finished plans. And town boards that meet once a month. If no quorum, then plans get pushed back another month or more. Not fair but that’s the way it is. with winter coming you won’t get much done on the campgrounds until April or so. Best of luck. Looking forward to seeing it.

Machelle James (@guest_52683)
4 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Becher

Oh good heavens I hope not! I’ll be so angry if we can’t get this thing moving along! I’ll be much more aware of how things work in a small town.

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