Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Operating an RV park: Building updates and a fun Halloween!

By Machelle James
Even with the RV park basically closed for the winter, we’re still very busy.

We had camp helpers come and decorate our Event area for Halloween. These young ladies were about 12 years old and they were so funny! How they communicated, how they worked together and problem-solved together were pretty eye-opening. Who was the leader in this group of girls became apparent pretty quickly. They got along very well for having just met each other. They did a great job with spooky spiders, webbing, hanging plastic bats in trees and more.

Jenna dressed as bacon, and Pikachu

They painted pumpkins and rocks into Halloween designs, and they were all very chatty and talented. This was my first group of tweens that I was in charge of and it’s funny how you forget HOW kids behave at this age. Our youngest is 25 now and our oldest grandchild is 5, so I had to remember that is an awkward stage in their lives. It also was very rewarding. We all worked as a team and improvised on how to attach items to a tree base. In the end, the area was super cute – we just need WAY bigger items to fill in the Event area.

Our trunk, for Trunk or Treat

We had our town’s Trunk or Treat on Saturday and it was a HUGE success. There were about 65 “trunks” that were decorated, top to bottom! The families lined up, not only for the treats, but for hot dogs, hot chocolate and coffee! It was so good to see the smiling faces, the fun costumes and the pure joy of trick or treating from trunk to trunk.

Concrete being poured

The concrete was poured for the RV park’s store!

While this was going on, we also were having the concrete poured for our store and having the floor finished into its final design. We chose a swirl type of finish with three colors mixed together. It is so shiny and durable that we can now imagine what the inside of the store will look like. The next pour will be the stamped concrete for the walkway/ramp and the outside seating area. We should be getting this done in two weeks, and I will have more progress photos to share with you!

I also will be ordering the cabinet bases in the next week so we can make sure we have everything we need to open the store. We also need a sink, countertops and displays, and I am hopeful the ones I bought last year will suffice. They are currently in storage and they will need a quick coat of paint as I bought them for pennies on the dollar at a going-out-of-business sale.

Our completed floor for the store!

Then we’ll need to order the items that we want in the store. I hear ice freezers are hard to come by and we need that! We are going to be busy behind the scenes – ordering supplies, T-shirts, jackets, food items, local wares and more.

AJ ordered the lumber package that we need, and that should be ready in a week or so. I think the next steps are going to come together pretty quickly, as the shell of the building will start getting built this month as well.

Overnight parking for people passing through, plus we’re open Thanksgiving week

We have pretty much closed our park for the winter. BUT we are allowing people who are passing through town to stay if they need a place to park for the night. We did open the week of Thanksgiving as we have been getting calls of people wanting to camp here then. Since we will be here, we thought, “Why not?”

While we are closed, AJ and I will be going to ARVC’s (National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds) OHCE (Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo) Annual Conference. This is for campground owners to learn about trends in camping, product design, compliancy, law, statistics, electricity products, networking and so much more. So, off to North Carolina we go next week!

We will still be working throughout the winter, and I will continue to update our progress and voice concerns we experience the along the way.

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, 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 on Facebook @ AJ’s Getaway RV Park or on Instagram at ajsgetawayrvpark.


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LionRampant (@guest_150924)
2 years ago

Machelle, I’ve truly enjoyed your progress as you build your RV Park. For the ice machine, are you planning one that makes ice and people scoop out of the bin, or one that is basically a big freezer to hold bags and/or blocks of ice? If it’s the latter, take a look at your local ice vendor. They will often supply you with the freezer for free or a nominal fee. They make their money on the ice you buy to stock it, as well as advertising their product.

Last edited 2 years ago by LionRampant
Donn (@guest_150825)
2 years ago

Can’t wait to stay with you guys. Been following your journey and have a friend I’d like to visit in the area. He has some fly in property nearby

Machelle James (@guest_150857)
2 years ago
Reply to  Donn

Hi Donn! That would be great to have you come by. I am guessing that may be the Airpark area and it is VERY close by. Please do come on by as we really do enjoy meeting our readers!

Joe Allen (@guest_150776)
2 years ago

Enjoy your articles and trials and tribulations along the way! Congrats on all you have accomplished for a great RV park. Hope to make a visit there this year on our way back to TN. I know you will be closed for the season, but maybe an overnighter will suffice? See ya down the road!

Machelle James (@guest_150856)
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe Allen

Hi Joe- please do call us when you are out this way! We will be open if we are here and we would love to meet you! Thank you for following our story and for your kind words of encouragement!

Sandie (@guest_150750)
2 years ago

I love reading your updates. You are doing such a great job and your campground looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing with us.

Machelle James (@guest_150855)
2 years ago
Reply to  Sandie

Hi Sandie! Thank you for following our journey as it has been QUITE the journey. Ups, downs and sideways- we are in it for the long haul!

Ed D. (@guest_150664)
2 years ago

Good morning Machelle, glad to see you had a great Halloween. Where in N. Carolina are you guys traveling to? We have a place we lease annually in Hayesville, NC on Lake Chatuge. It is beautiful there. We can look out of our window and view the Lake, surrounded by Mountains. Truly a unique place! We are back in our home base in Florida but are returning to N.C. the second week of December.
The floor looks great and I can’t wait to view the “finished” product. You guys be safe and enjoy the Holidays this year. I look forward to your updates.

Machelle James (@guest_150853)
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Hello Ed! We will be in Raleigh for the week before we head back to Phoenix. We have never been there and we are really looking forward to seeing the sites!
Your place sounds truly serene and beautiful! I am hoping to have a store shell by my next article. Fingers crossed and I’ll keep you posted!

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