By Machelle James
AJ and I are losing days of the week, because we’re busier than ever. We returned from our amazing trip across the country and have experienced everything from rain, snow, sleet, sun and ice.
For starters, Jenna enjoyed seeing Elvis’ childhood home, church, the family Plymouth and all the exhibits in Tupelo, MS. We ate at local diners, stayed at local hotels and enjoyed the scenery of traveling through the Midwest to the eastern U.S. Visiting our son, his wife and our granddaughter in Georgia was so enjoyable that we cannot wait to go back next year. The weather was so unpredictable day to day that you never knew if it would be hot, rainy or freezing!
I can say that our granddaughter warmed up to Papa AJ way faster than she warmed up to me. We got a call that she was crying for her Papa when she went to bed the night we left. We must have taken a thousand photos to document our trip so we can remember this period in our life when we get older.
There was even time to go see old neighbors who lived 2 hours away from the kids. Now that was a reunion! We haven’t seen them in 7 years and it was just where we left off when they moved away. Their daughter grew up and is in college, and she is now designing our new T-shirt logo and fun sayings for our Polar Camel cups. Oh, these are going to be so good, as I have seen the proofs for the cups!
Work done at the Campground while we were gone
While we were gone, however, we still had work done at the Campground. Tractor Tim came in and removed dead shrubs, trees and shag bark trees that were trying to overtake our pine trees. He said he pulled out more than 100 stumps/shrubs, and WOW, do the sites look clean! Well, we do have holes to backfill a little more and smooth out to make the sites look pretty again. It made a huge dirt mess and we will need TONS of gravel to make it look clean again. Nothing a tractor and rake can’t handle!
We ordered the siding for the store, we ordered our roof, and we had the concrete pads poured where the steps will go into the store. The metal roof was installed the weekend we got back. AJ finished all the electrical work that he needed to do before our inspection. (He passed!) Even as we speak, our siding is being unloaded from a big rig!
Huge storm at the Campground
Also, while we were gone a HUGE snow and wind storm came through and knocked down about 12 fence panels. I was told the wind gusts were over 50 mph, and tons of neighbors lost fence panels and even some roofs! It looked like a war zone when we first came back. There were downed fences, dirt and debris everywhere! We still have to get the fence panels up before guests come in on Monday for Spring Break.
This next week will be so busy as we are painting the trim to match the roof, and AJ will need to install it before the siding can go up. It is all happening so fast and we only have 4 weeks until we open back up. The pressure is ON to get everything looking sharp and the store stocked and ready.
We are both feeling an incredible amount of pressure as we navigate these next few weeks. We have our RV storage all booked up for the season. I am taking calls every day, answering as many questions as I can, while folks learn that we are the new Campground in town.
Wondering about reservations
AJ and I are both cautiously waiting to see if reservations will slow down due to gas prices rising. I think our saving grace is that we are no more than 3 hours away from the Phoenix area—and that is who our main market is. I’ll keep you posted as the months go by to see how/if we were affected by the high gas prices.
As I run out the door to paint, I want to thank you for following our Campground Journey. We love our jobs, and sharing the headaches and heartwarming stories with you makes it all worthwhile!
See you in the Trees and please leave a comment!
AJ, Machelle 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.