Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Building an RV park: Still waiting on the bank, but lots of progress on the RV park

UPDATE as of May 3: AJ and Machelle’s banker has received well over 100 emails of support from our wonderful readers – so you don’t need to send anymore. The bank will let Machelle and James know their final decision in a couple of days, and she’ll let us all know. Fingers crossed! Thank you, all!

UPDATE from the editor: AJ and Machelle’s banker has asked for emails of support to fund AJ’s Getaway RV Park, as their loan is in Underwriting right now. Please email your words of support to Shoshana Korrub at Shoshana.K@bank34.com   Let’s help get them funded and open ASAP! Thank you!

By Machelle James
At the time of my last article we were waiting on the bank. You readers came up with several great ideas (Thank you!), and I emailed our banker with your suggestions. I told her I was now on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce AND I have hundreds of readers who want to email her with their very enthusiastic support for the bank to help fund AJ’s Getaway.

Our banker is onboard

Well, guess what? She called me to congratulate me on my Chamber position AND to set up a date to come up and see the property herself! Last Friday she came up and met with AJ and me, and we walked the whole property. She took tons of photos and gave us good feedback. The banker personally loves our location and the layout of our Campground. She and her partner were all in for the funding of our Campground. She has one holdout as she wasn’t a camper and just couldn’t see the Vision or understand the explosive growth in camping. This gal wears heels, and room service is her type of vacation – so I understand her view. BUT, shouldn’t it be about if we can pay back the loan, our Pro-Forma, our financials and the trends in the camping arena?

Our banker had us update our resumes, and send over the Pro-Forma and our financial information. Now she is putting together a write-up on WHY they should fund this project. I was told Thursday they would reach out this week if they need anymore information. The good news is if/when approved, we could get the funds in less than 10 days. So we wait … and wait … and wait.

We learned a lot at a Campground Management Conference

Machelle and AJ at Campground Management School

Meanwhile, AJ and I went to a Campground Management Conference last week in Phoenix. This was an all-day event for owners of campgrounds, RV parks and mobile home parks in Arizona. We drove into Phoenix the night before. Since the conference was in a casino, we had to have a little fun while we were there. Now, AJ and I are not gamblers by any means. But we decided to have some fun at the Craps and Roulette machine. I can say that for a few hours of ups and downs, we walked away while the winning was good.

We went to eat dinner and, lo and behold, our insurance agent was there for the conference. It was very nice to finally be able to meet him after months of talking with him on the phone. We all had a great visit getting to know one another. I think this is important as we have to have trust in each other when we open our Campground. We talked about what can we have and do on the property and what is a hard NO. (That would be a jumping pillow, zip lines and a few other potentially life-altering items!)

Some of what we learned at the conference

This conference was about new legislation being voted on for camping and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) requirements for dumping black tanks in Arizona. I don’t have all the details, but ADEQ is getting involved with pre-dumping before they hook up to each RV site. We also learned human resource policies, copyright music licenses, movie licenses, emergency preparedness, waivers, inherent risk, natural disasters, camping trends, and pet laws (service animal vs. emotional support animal). Did you know that a service animal can be a dog or a miniature horse? Well, hot dog! I hope someone comes in with a miniature horse just so I can see one!

We ended the conference with making new connections, learning new ideas and new laws, and where we need to go next with our business. We have a HUGE announcement to make as soon as I get the green light. I am so excited – I can hardly contain myself! I will give a clue and say it’s an Event that will be held here. Next time, I will say what it is, as long as all parties approve!

Big events coming up

I had my first meeting with the Town Leaders about the 4th of July events, security, logistics, vendors, and emergency preparedness. All I can say is we have planned for an AMAZING weekend of fun! The permits have been submitted for the 8 anvil explosions and the fireworks show. We have estimated about 30-40 thousand people will be here, based on the feedback and inquiries the town has had.

First water spigot being installed

Construction progress every day

As for now, the construction is going on every day and the guys FINALLY broke through the hardest of the rock that we have. All the septic lines are completed and we are testing the septic tank this week to make sure there are no leaks. We have our first water spigot installed, and they are back-filling the space as we speak. The next step is the guys will be working on the leach field and installing the water and electric.

Tractor with hammer, along with the guard dog, Leia (belongs to a friend).

We also are having all the electrical conduit delivered on Friday. My cousin is working on the electric and he had to get the conduit from 3 different locations as they are in short supply everywhere. The bad news about our electric installation is the price of copper went up about 3 times the cost we were originally quoted. This is so frustrating! Our budget just keeps blowing up, so we did have to ask for more from the bank than the original dollar amount.

But it will all be so worth it when we are open. The blood, sweat and tears will soon become a memory. We know it’s the price to pay to become your own Boss!

Thank You for following our Campground Journey and See You in the Trees!

And please leave a comment!

AJ, Machelle and Jenna

UPDATE from the editor: AJ and Machelle’s banker has asked for emails of support to fund AJ’s Getaway, as their loan is in Underwriting right now! Please email your words of support to: Shoshana.K@bank34.com   Let’s help get them funded and open ASAP! Thanks!

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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Gail (@guest_143841)
2 years ago

I’m a single woman of 61 and trying to start a campground in Idaho. Could sure use some tips.

David F. (@guest_125300)
2 years ago

I was surprised to open my email, and find this response from your banker! Pretty cool!!! ( I couldn’t copy it on the mobile, had to find my laptop!!) Shoshana Korrub Mon, May 3, 11:44 AM (3 days ago)

Hi David,
Thank you for your letter of support. We are taking all of these recommendations into account. Have a wonderful day!
Shoshana Korrub

Machelle James (@guest_125389)
2 years ago
Reply to  David F.

Hi David! Shoshana did reply to everyone who emailed her. She said she had over 100 emails of support!! Thank you for taking the time to email her David!!

Diane Mc (@guest_124685)
2 years ago

Just letting you know my husband and I also sent an email to Shoshana. “Heels” needs to come out and meet you and AJ and see all that you have accomplished and hear your vision! She should be reading the blog you do and all the comments to know how committed you both are and how much support you have from the RV world. Also needs to read all the stories in RV Travel, and elsewhere, about all the new camping enthusiasts and full campgrounds created by the pandemic to know you will be raking in the dough once you open! Can’t wait to hear the good news!

Machelle James (@guest_124800)
2 years ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Hi Diane! Thank you for sending her an email!! And I did ask her to read our blog and see the following we have. She is now following us on FB to get updates and read what everyone has said in support for us!
The only raking in we have for now is pine needles!! But thank you for for support of our future cash flow!! 😆😆😆🙏🙏🤗

Donald Schneider (@guest_124670)
2 years ago

Machelle, So glad you FINALLY have the bankers attention and SUPPORT. And to get one to come be “boots on the ground” is awesome. Hope you hear something soon so you can start sleeping again.

Machelle James (@guest_124797)
2 years ago

Thanks Donald!! We are thrilled she came out too. I think it is smart business to check out the land, the location and have a solid business plan. We know she can SEE it..but will she STAMP it??!! We should know next week she said!!

Bob M (@guest_124644)
2 years ago

Pets don’t like fireworks. It’s a bad time to build. The price of wood is up 300% as well as shortages and other materials. It’s even hard to get workers. No one wants to work because they get more staying home. Good luck with getting the campground finished and within budget.

Machelle James (@guest_124794)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob M

Thank You??? I’m not sure what you’re saying exactly.. don’t build because it’s too expensive? Stop everything because the prices are high and HOPE they will come down?? We can’t stop now. It is what it is and we keep moving forward.
We are the workers as we are self managing so that’s all set.. and as for pets and fireworks.. the town has had this tradition for MANY years.. so the locals know to have their Pets inside when the fireworks go off.
Also, when animals do escape..the whole town looks and they are eventually found.
I understand what you’re saying about people getting paid to stay home… it is a problem in other fields.. we have pretty much everything covered for materials and the team to get it done!

Diane Stephenson (@guest_124609)
2 years ago

Machelle, when we see all the road blocks and bureaucracy thrown in your way, we can’t help but admire your persistence and perseverance in pushing towards your goal. We were just thinking this morning that what needs to be done is everyone who reads RV travel have to contact the bank and tell them to get on with it. We had a laugh at your description of the banker in high heels who couldn’t see a future RV park. She should do some homework. Your park will be full to capacity every night if current trends continue. There is such a shortage of good RV parks in areas that aren’t in cities with lots of recreational activities at your doorstep. We live in Canada and can’t RV anymore due to medical issues, but look forward to your posts in RV travel and support you 100 per cent. Now I have to email that banker. Thank you for your wonderful articles that brighten our day.

Machelle James (@guest_124623)
2 years ago

Awwww!! Thank you Diane!! We knew it would be somewhat challenging..but this was honestly unexpected push back. We keep moving, one foot in front of the other every single day. The bank should be thrilled to help fund a much-needed RV Park like ours. It looks good for them AND for us! Now if only I could get Heel Lady out here to get some Nature on her Manolo Blahnik shoes..do you think it would change her mind? 🤔🤭🤣

Linda (@guest_124593)
2 years ago

Just to let you know, I sent my email to the bank to let them know we support you all the way, and they should too!

Machelle James (@guest_124620)
2 years ago
Reply to  Linda

Hi Linda! Thank you so very much for taking the time to email the bank and to be a continued support for us!! We appreciate you very much!

Thomas D (@guest_124592)
2 years ago

Whats wrong with DARK SKYS. Leave the projector in the box.

Machelle James (@guest_124619)
2 years ago
Reply to  Thomas D

Hey, Thomas! WE LOVE dark skys as well. It is more of a FUN once in awhile event to bring joy into the Campground. Now we would not do this every night as it would RUIN the star gazing.
Remember the kids. They love fun and new experiences and honestly.. so do we!! Thanks for your continued support Thomas. It’s going to be so beautiful when we open!!

Ed D. (@guest_124505)
2 years ago

I had to continue this.
I have a suggestion for you: We were in an RV Park in N.C. and the couple next door to us used one of the projector units that you can use to project colors on the outside walls of your home. Like in the Winter, they will send snowflakes across your wall. Well they aimed it at the trees above and used the different color mode (like spots of color). It was one of the most fantastic things I have ever seen at an RV Park. If you already have one of these, try it on a night! It sent what looked like shooting stars across all of the tree leaves. Just a suggestion.

Machelle James (@guest_124556)
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed D.

OH THAT SOUNDS BEAUTIFUL! I have seen those projectors and we have plenty of trees to aim it to.
What a great idea and thank you Ed!!

Michael (@guest_124966)
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Let’s keep campgrounds as natural as possible. No lights around, under, or above rigs. Trees don’t want cutsie snowflakes.

Ed D. (@guest_124984)
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael

Hey Michael, don’t worry about it. The “cutsie” light show is intended for the children. So quit being a selfish, all about you, person.

Ed D. (@guest_124504)
2 years ago

Good morning Machelle,
I already wrote the Bank with words of support for your project, before I even read todays article. I know in my heart they will come through for you. Your level of commitment is undeniable and they just won’t be able to say no!
I like the new water spigot. It looks like you went with the Frost proof type. Wise choice! Sounds like the 4th of July will be a good time for people to come and visit you. A great time to be had by all! We will eventually make it up to see the Park but don’t know exactly when at this point. Keep doing all you guys are doing and we will keep saying prayers that all will work out for you in the end. As the old saying goes: “Nothing ventured, Nothing gained”! Good luck and we will definitely “see you in the trees”!

Machelle James (@guest_124554)
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Thank You Ed! It’s so strange that we need a cheering section for our loan to get approved! Well whatever it takes to get the funding- we will do it! We did choose all frost free water spigots as well as we are insulating the water main that was just installed YESTERDAY! I didn’t even get to write about that yet! We walked the property yesterday as we had a full crew here. The tree stumps are gone, most of the roads are graded and it looks magical!
I do hope you will get a chance to come see it!!!

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