By Machelle James
As I sit back and reflect on the last two weeks, it’s a bit of a blur. When I last wrote, we had raised $4,700 through GoFundMe to assist with our campground building expenses. Well, I am happy to report that that number has grown to $6,235. We are so appreciative for the donations, belief in us and the heartfelt messages you have sent us. To say we are growing more and more excited every week as we get close to truly breaking ground is an understatement.
We took a week off to deliver our car to our son in Florida. If you’ve ever made a cross-country trip in a little car, you know the feeling of your back and legs hurting, your tailbone being sore, and the general feeling of being run over by the big rigs. I can say driving from Phoenix, through New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, then Florida was a 3-day ordeal! It was 27 hours of driving, not including any stops for gas or food or our hotel stays.
The I-10 was a decent drive all the way through to New Mexico, and then the 2-lane construction started in Texas and it was a hairy drive! Texas has a speed limit of 80 mph. All I can say is AJ and I learned that I need to drive as I am not a good passenger. He pulled over after I kept putting my hand up to slow down so I could drive. Seriously, he couldn’t take it anymore as I was holding my breath and my mind was convinced we were going to crash.
After that, I just drove. I had no idea I was such a control freak when driving, but, hey, he got to sit back, read the news, play games on his phone and not feel the stress I was giving him. I am mature enough to admit I am not a perfect person! (He is a smart man by making me take the wheel)
Fast forward to seeing our son, daughter-in-law and grandbaby in Florida. We enjoyed every second of being with them and reconnecting with them all. Our granddaughter is almost 2 years old and she is a FIRECRACKER! She has the most energy you can imagine. She runs, climbs, babbles and plays ALL DAY LONG! Not to mention she is a great eater! As in everything you give her, she eats it! Even sushi!
We worked long days helping the kids fix up their home. We installed a new sink, new faucet, new vanity, 2 new toilets, painted 2 rooms and cleared out their garage so the car would fit inside. It was tough on us all as trying to work with a 2-year-old is really hard! She dove into the paint when the lid came off! We were standing right there and turned our heads away and her hands went straight in the paint bucket. All of our efforts were so worth it though.
As our week came to an end, we were ready to come home and get back to work on building our RV park. Luckily for us, we flew home and just missed the HUGE storm by a few hours. I am so thankful we were able to fly out before the devastating storms took ahold of most of the country.
We returned home to see that Tractor Tim had been working hard on clearing our camping spots. He cleared two roads and made approximately 20 RV pull-through spaces in the campground. The limbs are not cleaned up yet, but at least you can see how the pads are coming along. We have a TON of chainsaw work to do, but now we can get to work before the construction crew gets here to start their work.
Now, to fill you in on our refinance situation. We were denied a home refinance as our bank wants us to pursue the SBA avenue. All morning we have been on the phone talking to a broker on what types of loan programs we can qualify for at this point. We have almost all the funds we need; we just need 200k more.
I am going to write about the trials and tribulations of starting your own business, including building an RV park, when this is all over. You truly have no idea the government hoops you have to go through to start your own business. It is beyond frustrating – to say the least – and I can see how most people would give up.
Being a new business is the worst, as you don’t have a reputation yet. No one trusts you even if you have a solid business plan and excellent ideas. How can one start to become an entrepreneur when they don’t give you the chance! You either need a ton of your own money or be lucky enough to have wealthy family members.
As we move forward this week on building our RV park, we will continue to clean up the property so Tractor Tim can come back and finish the roads and the RV pads. We meet with the entire construction team next week, here on the property, so they know what they are working with. It is eerily exciting as we know in a couple of weeks we will start the real job of the underground work.
We could have never guessed that a pandemic would come, set us back a year, slow down financing, make wood prices triple – and we would not be open the campground for 2020. We are so thankful we have a ton of support from you all and from our local Arizona campers!
Thank you for following our journey – as this is just the beginning of great things to come!
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.