Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Operating an RV park: More progress: Concrete is poured, and we have a tractor!

By Machelle James
What an amazing past two weeks we have had at our RV park! The stamped concrete patio is almost finished. The crew will come back and power wash and seal it in about a week.

Stamped concrete patio.

They also did a technique that gave it a wood-looking edge that you can see in the pictures. It needs a little more sanding down, but we both absolutely love how it is turning out!

Rough cut forms made this pattern for the stem walls

Trusses up on the roof

AJ has been working on the roof and making necessary adjustments to the walls before the plywood goes up. He has been consulting with a local builder up here on building codes to make sure he is doing it right. That local builder came over and offered to have his crew put the trusses up. I think I about cried when he offered his crew to us. They came over with tractors and had them all installed in 2 hours. I cannot imagine how long that would have taken AJ and his friend Tim.

The local builder and his crew.

We bought them all lunch and off they went to finish what they were working on for the day. I have been humbled at the generosity here of neighbor helping neighbor. Yes, we had to pay for the labor of his crew only, but I almost fell over with how inexpensive it was. Truly, my heart is so Thankful at the support and kindness we have received. And knowing it is done the right way gives me a huge sigh of relief.

Finished trusses.

Water issue at the campground

We recently found we have a water issue when we received our water bill. It was hundreds of dollars more and a thousand gallons more than our previous bill. We were having much less business and it was quite a shock to us. AJ originally thought it was the underground spigot plunger having the leaks. He could visibly see the leaks in 5 sites, as that is where the ground was wet.

Our representative at Utility Supply Group walked him through how to diagnose the problem. Turns out it wasn’t the spigot. It seems that our actual water connections, with the PVC piping underground, is what is leaking. Oh, this is bad. AJ is going to need to dig up the areas that have obvious water leaks and replace the joints that are leaking. I hear the dread in his voice as he digs up the area around the spigot and figures out how to fix this mess. In the meantime, he shut off all the water to one area of the park until the leaks are fixed.

Our new tractor!

AJ got his tractor!

On a positive note, AJ FINALLY got the call that his tractor was ready for pick-up. Talk about one happy camper! He bought a Yanmar with a loader, gannon and forks. He borrowed his friend’s super-sized trailer to drive to the valley and pick it up. The snow was ready to fall when he came back, so we haven’t even used it yet! I know he is thrilled with his new workhorse, as we can finally do our most of own tractor work.

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, we are so thankful for their love and support. We keep hearing the same thing: “We cannot believe you followed through with your dreams. Most people say they are going to follow their dreams, but get scared and give up.” First off, you have to be really passionate about what you want to do, what you like to do, and do what makes you happy.

Wrapping up 2021 …

As we wrap up 2021, there are a few revelations and reflections we would like to share:

In our case, we sold our beautiful home and almost everything we owned to pursue our dreams of owning an RV park. We were serious about moving forward. You have to have “skin in the game” and that skin costs money! If you aren’t scared to death to move forward, you aren’t serious enough. It’s terrifying to think about the “What if’s.” “What if we fail?” “Well, Darling, what if you fly?!” You just need to do it!

Keep your emotions out of your business: Do what is best for your business and not for your emotions. (Example: Cutting down scrub trees so awnings and slides outs will open versus, I like trees, I want to keep them.) Do what is best for your customers.

We have learned so much over this past year, both personally and professionally, that we are excited to see what the future brings.

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

We wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!

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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Traveler (@guest_157214)
1 year ago

Happy Christmas!

Ed D. (@guest_157197)
1 year ago

Machelle and Family. Here is wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year! Thank you for letting us share your adventure through your Articles. At times I think you may have missed your calling. You are a very gifted writer.
You do have some wonderful neighbors and that has to make it all even sweeter! The Store/Office is looking good and I know you will make sure it is top notch. Your work ethic and “go get-em” attitude wouldn’t allow anything less! Tell AJ that he may have to dig the lines up but he needs to test them prior to filling the dirt back in. I am surprised he didn’t do that to begin with. Oh well, live and learn! On behalf on all of us following your adventure: We will see you in the trees!

Machelle James (@guest_157202)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Hi ED! I was wondering where you were! I used to write songs and poems when I was younger. Story telling has always been a part of me. Thank you for the kind words.
The lines were tested before the dirt was covered, so we are wondering if the winter temps took over (even though they all have the heat tape) or the glue? Regardless, he has work to do! Wishing you healthy blessings and happiness always!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Ed and Family!

Ed D. (@guest_157205)
1 year ago
Reply to  Machelle James

We are back at our 5th wheel in NC on Lake Chatuge for the Holidays. We will be here until the 17th of January. Sorry I was so late. We just had our outside heated Drinking Water hose, decide to not heat any more. So I had to replace it in a raining downpour. We were gone a good portion of the morning. But all is right now. Thanks for the warm wishes!

joe (@guest_157187)
1 year ago

Have followed you since your first posting. What a trip! So glad things are going well and sincerely hope 2022 will be your best year ever. We don’t travel too often, now that I am in my 80’s, but maybe this year we will take a few weeks to travel in your direction. Merry Christmas and the greatest New Year.

Machelle James (@guest_157199)
1 year ago
Reply to  joe

Hi Joe! Thank you for following along for so long. It has been quite the journey and I am honored to have been able to share it with you and our readers.
We would love to meet you if you do come out this way!
Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Donn (@guest_157161)
1 year ago

“If your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough”

Machelle James (@guest_157198)
1 year ago
Reply to  Donn

DONN- ABSOLUTELY!!! You get it!!

Donald Schneider (@guest_157137)
1 year ago

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year, AJ, Machelle and Jenna

Machelle James (@guest_157145)
1 year ago

Hi Donald! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

Diane Mc (@guest_157136)
1 year ago

Machelle, that patio is awesome. What a great idea. Looks great in its current state. Can’t wait to see the finished product. You are always so positive even when things aren’t going exactly to your liking. We could use so many more of you in this world. Merry Christmas & God bless you and your family.

Machelle James (@guest_157144)
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Hi Diane! Thank you for your kind words! We are so excited to see the final product as well!
Merry Christmas to you and your family as well! 🙏🙏🙏

Neal Davis (@guest_157131)
1 year ago

Wow! So pleased to see more progress! Congratulations! Sorry about the water connection. 😐 Given all you already accomplished, fixing the water leak also will be fixed and you will learn from it. Merry Christmas, happy new year!

Machelle James (@guest_157143)
1 year ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

Hi Neal! Thank You! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Bob M (@guest_157099)
1 year ago

I would have loved to see how they did the stamped concrete wood grain. It looks beautiful. Surprised you didn’t get a snow plow for the tractor. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Machelle James (@guest_157128)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob M

Hi Bob. First, it is colored concrete. Second, they put rough cut 1 by various lengths, inside the forms. Then they vibrated the concrete to get the texture. (AJ is telling me what to say!)
He also said we don’t need a snow plow in the summer when we are open. We can use a loader for now if we need to!
Merry Christmas to you and yours, Bob!

Ran (@guest_157075)
1 year ago

Congrats on the new tractor, and following your dreams. We look forward to visiting your RV Park!

Machelle James (@guest_157123)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ran

Hi Ran! Thank You! It was needed for this line of work and AJ is so happy with it. Please come visit when you are in the area!

Dave (@guest_157055)
1 year ago

I enjoy reading about the new campground in contrast to the gloom and doom about which we’ve been reading. I look forward to hearing more of your experience.

Machelle James (@guest_157121)
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave

Hi Dave. I agree! I’ve read the articles and it’s such a contrast to our Campers. We LOVE what we do and I honestly think it’s because we do not have residents here. We meet new people all the time and they are so thankful that we have space available when they drive through town!

Diane Mc (@guest_157133)
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave

A thousand times this! I was just scrolling by most of the newsletter & saw Machelle’s update. Big smile and couldn’t wait to read the update.

Rick Edgar (@guest_157045)
1 year ago

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to your family. Wishing the best for you in 2022. Looking forward to your future posts.

Machelle James (@guest_157118)
1 year ago
Reply to  Rick Edgar

Thank You Rick! Merry Christmas to you and your family as well!

tom (@guest_157030)
1 year ago

You Go! Girl

Machelle James (@guest_157117)
1 year ago
Reply to  tom

Thank you Tom!
Merry Christmas!

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