Friday, December 9, 2022


Building an RV park from scratch: We moved into our house! And plans are changing


By Machelle James
If you’ve ever remodeled a house, you know how much hard work it is. I think it’s fair to say AJ and I have used muscles we didn’t know we had! Every day we wake up and are thankful to be alive as we nurse our sore muscles and fatigued bodies. I have never in my life looked so much forward to taking a hot bath!

We finally have the entire house tiled with Pergo TimberCraft™ planks. WOW!!! Not only do our floors look fantastic, it feels so good and cushiony under my feet! I have started cooking in our home and moved all the pantry items from the trailer into our home. We will bomb the house for bugs this weekend. We found out we have TONS of spiders and a few centipedes living in our home. Who knows what is living in the attic and crawlspace. To be honest, I don’t want to know what critters are living in there. I have dreams of spiders crawling in my bed and it is seriously freaking me out!

I will say after living in a toy hauler for 3 1/2 months, our home feels like a mansion!

On our first night I didn’t sleep at all because of the bad bug dreams I was having and I was HOT. As in sweating so bad I opened a window and found a small fan to turn on. Good to know our log home is very well insulated!

We still don’t have the shower area done, so the showers are still being taken in the trailer as of today. But we do have our washer and dryer hooked up now. We were literally watching the first load being washed. Swishing and spinning our clothes while toasting with our glasses that there will be no more laundromats! This past week was truly a week for celebrations!

As for our campground, we are needing to resubmit the plans to our engineering team. While the roads are good, the spaces are not. We need to move them to an angle as well as be flexible as to where the spaces begin and end. We need to work around the trees as we do not want to cut any of them down. Scrub brush we’ll cut, but not our glorious trees.

So we are on the ground, with tape and spray chalk to see where each space should go. This is a painfully slow process,  but we want it done right. We drove the property with a friend who has an eyesight for design and flow, and that really opened our eyes as well. So we are adding more full hookup spots, more storage spots, more Ramada’s and picnic areas. We also are going to lengthen the internal roads to offer more camping options.

It is pretty much back to the drawing board. We didn’t like how the corral camping was placed and are placing it in a more circular setup for up to 6 RVs. I will say we have had many private messages asking about reservations for RV storage and asking if we are hiring yet. We both agree that RV and boat storage will be a successful part of our RV park. It will generate income as well as help as a sound barrier from the highway. There is a noise concern as we are directly off a busy highway. Having that buffer of storage along the highway would definitely help with sound control.

AJ and I also have registered for the ARVC (National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds) conference in Tennessee this year. We need to learn all about being campground owners and operators. I am truly looking forward to meeting the vendors out there and networking with other campground owners as well.

I’ll never forget a couple of great pieces of advice I received last year:

1. There are enough people for all the campgrounds out there – so don’t worry about competition.

2. We will attract people like us: family-oriented, off-road riding, outdoor-loving, BBQ-cooking, stargazing, children-and-special-needs-friendly hosts who truly love meeting new people.

We want to make your family want to come back year after year because we offer a safe, fun place to make lifelong memories. Now, who wants to join us around the campfire?

Thank you for following our journey and, as always, see you in the trees. And please leave a comment!

Read Machelle’s 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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3 years ago

Looking goo❣️ Love seeing and reading your progress. You guys have got this❣️♥️ You and will see you in the trees❣️Way to go‼️

3 years ago

Your house is beautiful! Just take it one day at a time and before you know it, you’ll be open and have a full campground of RV-ers!

Richard Davidson
3 years ago

Can’t wait to visit! Love your new home! Keep up the good (sore) work!

Machelle James
3 years ago

Thank you Richard!! We are so happy here!

3 years ago

Your floors are gorgeous! Love reading about your adventure and the process – thanks for sharing.

Machelle James
3 years ago
Reply to  Peggy

Thank you Peggy! They are a wonderful addition to our home. They are so easy to clean too!!