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Building an RV park: Waiting for the bank; Rocks, rocks and more rocks!

By Machelle James
I’m nervous and I’m stalling to write my article. The bank is reviewing our loan at this very moment and I am a bundle of nerves. I am on edge and I find myself stressed out and moody. I don’t like this feeling. I’m normally the happy one, the optimistic one. This feeling of doubt and fear regarding the loan does not bode well with me.

We’ve been down this road at least 7 times and it never gets easier. Banks either like the idea of a campground or they don’t. There is no grey area for campgrounds in the land of commercial loans. This is the biggest hurdle we will have faced since we decided to pursue our campground dreams.

Rocks from septic area
Rocks that came out of septic area

More rocks require special tractor

While I sit/stand/pace here and wait for word from the bank about our loan, I do have construction news to share. First off, our underground guys hit a sweet spot of just dirt for about 100 feet. Then BAM! They hit rock again. Now that we know we have rock on three sides of the property, we have to order a special tractor with a Drum Cutter. We should have this up here in about two weeks. Until then, the crew is working on places that they can find soft dirt to dig the utilities in.

Rocks
Rocks from hard dig. We had to stop!

We found buried trash in addition to all of the rocks!

The truth about building underground is you never know what you’re going to find under there. We have found bags and bags of trash that were buried here. I know there were squatters living here before us and all throughout the property. I have been told by the neighbors that this property was a trash pit and dumping ground. Well, it was cleaned up when we moved in and I can see that someone hired a tractor to bury all the trash. It makes me sick that we have to hand pick up mounds and mounds of trash that someone tried to hide. So far we are on bag six of 55-gallon trash bags and we have a lot more to clean up.

Septic tank
Septic tank is completed!

Our septic tanks lids getting installed last week! We were SO excited to see the big trucks come rumbling through with the cement lids on board! We took video of how they placed the lids and it was so interesting to watch. The first lid was 14,000 pounds and the others were about 10,000 pounds each! We watched as Calvin, the owner of Perkins Precast, maneuvered the massive concrete lids with a remote boom controller. He is an expert in his field as he had all four lids placed in under two hours. WOW! What a difference it makes with the lids and the risers in place. It finally looks complete and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see it finished!

More issues with placing the service panels and transformers

That same day, AJ, myself and our underground guy, Thomas, met with Danny from Navopache Electric. We needed a plan as to where to place the service panels and the four transformers. Two of the transformers needed to be moved from the original design due to not being able to dig into the hard ground. We thought we found a better location for all four of them together, but it turns out that only two of them could be in that location. We still needed to move two of them to another area as the service panels were too far away.

Navopache Electric will need to be granted a 25-foot easement to the poles as well as a stub out at the front of our property. This means we would need to put up aerial poles across the whole property, with a 35-foot guy-wire attached to each pole. Well that wouldn’t work as RVs or people could run into the wires. So we had to compromise on adding one electrical pole in the back of the property, with one 35-foot guy-wire. Then we will dig underground to lay the remaining electric lines towards the front of the property. Our only choice for this design was to have one of our camping sites hold the transformers and service panels. It will still be hidden away so it won’t be damaged, but it needs to be on a specific camping site in order to supply electricity to the remainder of the campground.

Yard hydrants and RV pedestals
Yard hydrants and RV pedestals

Our RV pedestals and yard hydrants arrived!

On another happy note, we received deliveries of our RV pedestals and our yard hydrants! We are so excited they came in as we knew there is a shortage of supplies in almost every area we need. We ordered frost-free hydrants as well as all-weather, 50-amp pedestals for our campers. A very special friend gifted us custom cornhole boards! Oh, they are so beautiful and she also made two sets for the children! I cannot thank her enough for sharing her talents and generosity with us!

While we work each day knowing things will work out in the end, we just pray our loan will get approved this time. I will keep you all posted on what we find out as we stay busy, keeping our mind focused on other things.

Thank you for following our campground journey, and 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.

##RVT994

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John whitford
6 months ago

I would love to speak to you folks regarding the infrastructure for Wi-Fi and Internet capability I specialize in small campgrounds and I might be able to help you. We are currently working on a project for a campground in seligman and also in Oatman Arizona. I could be reached at 805-461-3030

John whitford
6 months ago

I would love to speak to your folks regarding the infrastructure for Wi-Fi and Internet capability I specialize in small campgrounds and I might be able to help you. We are currently working on a project for a campground in seligman and also an Oatman Arizona.

John whitford
6 months ago
Reply to  John whitford

I can be reached at 805-461-3030

Ed D.
6 months ago

Sorry I didn’t respond yesterday but we were on the road all day. I read your article this morning. WOW! things are moving along with the Septic Tanks finished being installed and the Electricity being addressed as well. I am sure your loan will be approved. So don’t stress so much! One of the things all Banks look for is: “How much skin you have in the game”! How much you have “personally” invested in the project. From what I see, you guys have invested a lot already and have shown you are serious!
If you were my Daughter and son-in-law, I would be very proud of all you have accomplished already! It will all work out! Just stay positive and don’t let this project, or any other projects for that matter, affect your personality! Keep your head up and keep reaching for the stars!

Ed D.

Machelle James
6 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Hi Ed!! I am so excited to see the progress that is happening right now. We had to make another new campsite, which I forgot to write about….and it looks SOOOO nice!!
I do hope the bankers see this as we have people from ALL over the country wanting to camp here!
And both our parents are really proud of us!! Thank you for your continued support and encouragement!

Ed D.
6 months ago
Reply to  Machelle James

Are you going to be strictly RV’s? Or are you also going to build some Cabins for rentals?

Machelle James
6 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Hi Ed! We are going to have cabins in the future..1 or 2 years. We can’t do it from the get go like we thought we could!

C. Smith
6 months ago

Can’t wait until you’re open!! We’ve been following your roller coaster ride anxiously from Payson, and now Mesa. We will be desperate for a cooler place to spend some time over the summer. Keep up the hard work and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Machelle James
6 months ago
Reply to  C. Smith

Thank you for following our Campground journey for so long! We can see the light at the end of the tunnel! The property is really starting to look like a Campground!! Please come visit when we open and get out of the heat!!!

Rica
6 months ago

If I win the lottery, I will help you with your efforts!! Hard workers…banks are wimpy!

Machelle James
6 months ago
Reply to  Rica

Hi Rica! Oh that would be marvelous for all of us!! Keep rolling those lucky dice and get the winning numbers!!

Larry H.
6 months ago

Following from Scottsdale. I hope to be able to book a night in August on a trip back from Colorado. Fingers crossed.

Machelle James
6 months ago
Reply to  Larry H.

Hi Larry! That would be great! We will be up and running for sure by then! I’ll make the announcement when our reservations go live on our FB Page!!! We are hoping a few weeks we should be up and running!

Barb
6 months ago

Keep the faith, you guys are doing great, it will all work out! Prayers for continued strength through your journey. ⛺️

Machelle James
6 months ago
Reply to  Barb

Thank you Barb! We have the Faith!! Just need the $$$!! 😁😆😁🙏🙏

CAREN KELLY
6 months ago

We plan to be in your area this November when the border opens up. Hope you will be ready to accept guests as Canadian snowbirds will be flying south once again. Keep us posted and enjoy the journey (LOL)!

Machelle James
6 months ago
Reply to  CAREN KELLY

Hi Caren! I hope the borders open before then!!! We would be thrilled to meet you and welcome you to our Campground!!

steve
6 months ago

Love reading about your park journey. But, isn’t it like getting the cart ahead of the horse by starting construction and then hoping for a loan? Praying for your success but I can understand the nervousness.

Machelle James
6 months ago
Reply to  steve

Hi Steve. If you follow our story… we were approved for our loan, but our General Contractor quit.. SBA requires a GC to be on the project and oversee everything…so we had to stop the SBA process as we would need to start over with a new GC, new bids, etc… We could not find a GC who was available as they are all a year out as they are so busy. SOOOO we are using our own funds, doing a self build and need more $$ to finish our project. We have another option if this one doesn’t go through.
Sometimes situations are not always as they seem to outsiders…

steve
6 months ago
Reply to  Machelle James

Thanks Machelle. I figured there was a good reason. I had forgot about the GC issues. What a pain. Wishing you guys the best.

Machelle James
6 months ago
Reply to  steve

Oh yeah.. it was actually 2 GC’s that quit. At least the 1st one had integrity and told us that he had to hand our project off to someone else ..he was already too busy… and thanks for the well wishes. We will get there!

Donald Schneider
6 months ago

Good Morning and thanks for the update. Since you now have all those rocks have you considered using them to build your fences around the property? They would sure be “no maintenance”.

Machelle James
6 months ago

Hi Donald! That is an excellent idea! We actually are using them to protect the utility lines, the transformers, and anything else we don’t want RV’s to accidentally run into. We also are using the smaller ones for the firepits. We had a meeting with our underground guy and he said they are already allotted for and we may need more!

C Bonelli
6 months ago

You are an excellent story teller, I look forward to your articles eagerly. As I read, I feel like I am on your journey of anticipation and discovery. I am on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what happens with the bank’s decision (a no brainer in my opinion).

Machelle James
6 months ago
Reply to  C Bonelli

Thank You so much! I’m so glad you’ve followed our journey and are right there with us! Still haven’t heard from the bank, so we are pretty bummed… but will announce the answer either way it goes!!