By Machelle James
I feel bad for missing my deadline to write two weeks ago. Our lives were truly chaotic and I just could not find the time to be still and have intelligent words come out of my mouth. The 4th of July week was a mix of happy campers, Chamber of Commerce events, the town parade and fireworks, and a massive rainstorm to boot.
We feverishly weed-whacked the sites, stocked the store with new merchandise, answered calls until 8:00 p.m. every night and then collapsed into a sleep coma. However, I am the lucky one who wakes up in the middle of the night with anxiety. Did I return that phone call? Did I bill the site for firewood? What about ordering enough supplies for the store? Did I buy enough hot dogs for our internal BBQ?
Big party for Independence Day
Not to mention, we have the biggest party on the Mountain for Independence Day. We were busy with Volunteer meetings, meetings with the Sheriff’s Department, ADOT, making sure the bands were all set, ordering banners for the sponsors, setting up our local park for the weekend long events. And, of course, I was in charge of the Beer Garden. I had to figure out how to order and pay the distributors and to have the beer and wine delivered to the Chamber of Commerce on what days and when to pick up the leftovers. It was nerve-wracking.
I will say we have an AMAZING Board at the Chamber and our town really pulled together with all the Volunteers to make it happen. WOW, WOW, WOW, was it magical! Our band on Saturday was so talented, it felt like an hours’ long concert. Truly amazing vocals and musicians! I have never bartended before and I learned real quick how to pop a top with a paint can opener. The vibe was so awesome that we all just took it all in. As a small town, we truly appreciated the hugely successful turnout for the weekend.
Meanwhile, back at the Campground, we had a parade of Side x Sides and bicycles that drove around and showed off their 4th of July decorations. Then we had the Fire Department come out and hose off the kids, and then the parents were all hosed off, as well. That was a day to remember! We had a BBQ afterwards, and everyone had a WONDERFUL time playing in the water.
Everything we hoped it would be
We had rain, we had wind and we had unbelievable sunsets that weekend. It was everything we hoped it would be! The icing on the cake was that our son, daughter-in-law and our grandsons came up to visit us during this time. We had four glorious days with all four of them. Then the kids left and we said we would keep the grandbabies for a week and then bring them home. Levi is 2 years old and Max is 6 years old.
WELL… It seems we forgot how busy a 2-year-old is. Levi was hungry, tired, needed diaper changes, playful, happy, huggy, needy—and all the wonderful things a 2-year-old has to offer. Max was pretty easy to have here, as he is a helper, and he played with the other Camping kids. He also helped us clean up the campground, so he was much easier to have here. We decided we had to take the little Levi home early as he needed way more attention than we could truly offer him. We were struggling to juggle the chores around nap time and his eating schedule. (The kid LOVES to eat!) We will try again in the off-season when we can dedicate all our time to little Levi and Max. Overall, we got the best cuddles a grandparent could ask for.
While we stay busy with daily arrivals, we are learning to stay on top of the weeds and ants. The wet weather has brought out both of them in the worst way. It is a constant battle of the weeds, and we pull them out every chance we get. At a bare minimum, we whack them to death!
We have to own up to a situation that happened where we were at fault. One of our Campers told us he lost a leg on our 50-amp circuit. Well, we have heard this over and over and it has always been operator error. Until now. Our guest kept tripping the breaker and AJ kept telling him to lower is electric usage as he had a 42 ft. 5th wheel with 2 AC’s. AJ went out with his volt meter and it read 220 volts. He showed it to the guy and he said everything worked fine while boondocking, just not here. So, we all kind of forgot about it as we went about our weekend. Well, after they left, a Camper across from him, who shared an electrical panel with that guest, said his breakers popped when he turned on his hair dryer. (Don’t ask!)
AJ went over to his site and it clicked: These sites were all wired to the same panel. He realized that our 200-amp fuse was the culprit. It popped the fuse and the sites were no longer working at full capacity. AJ tested the fuse and it was open, or, in layman’s terms, it was smoked! Apparently four sites, with two AC’s each, microwaves, hair dryers and extension cords connected to a 50-amp circuit, will melt the system.
We owed our guest an apology; we made it right
AJ ran over to the local Ace Hardware store and the guy shook his head and basically laughed at him. They don’t carry a fuse that big and said he needed to go to an electrical supply house. We had to move guests around and cannibalize fuses to make those sites work until he could run into the Valley to get replacement fuses.
We owed our guest an apology for not believing him that the voltage wasn’t working right. So we made it right. AJ emailed the guests and invited them to come back with a two-night stay at no charge, so they could really enjoy their stay. We had no idea that the panel wasn’t working as designed. Needless to say, we bought three more fuses for when this happens again.
As we prepare for another full house this weekend, we want to thank you for following our Campground Journey. We look forward to sharing more learning experiences with you all!
See You in the Trees, and please leave a comment!
Machelle, AJ and Jenna
Read previous articles here.
Machelle James and her husband, AJ, built, from the ground up, a 15-acre RV park in Heber-Overgaard, Arizona, in the beautiful White Mountains 140 miles from Phoenix. Follow them at their website, or on Facebook @ AJ’s Getaway RV Park, or on Instagram at ajsgetawayrvpark.