Wednesday, July 6, 2022


Operating an RV park: Gorgeous weather and early arrivals!

By Machelle James
What happens when the weather turns nice, early in the year? You get early reservations! We originally had planned to open our campground on April 15th, but the weather has been fantastic and we opened early last week. We have had 10 unexpected reservations in the past week, and we are OK with this.

Since we live on the park property, we can have guests come in if they drive in or call at the last minute. That is what happened as we were working outside and an RV would pull in to ask if we were open. We would be silly to turn down business and most of the sites were ready, so we said YES!

We meet such wonderful people at our RV park

Win Win for all of us! They knew we were working on the store. They didn’t mind at all, so in they came. We truly are so blessed to meet such wonderful people from across the country. This time we had folks from as far away as New Jersey. Since the weather in the Valley turns straight to HOT in April, the people are leaving in droves. We get to be the lucky ones to host them at our campground while driving to their next destination.

Foam, before and after

Speaking of our store, we FINALLY had the spray foam insulation installed yesterday! The crew came up from the Valley and had it completed in 6 hours. We are now letting the store air out before we start on the drywall and the tongue and groove on the ceiling. We immediately noticed how quiet the store is. Our home is made of real logs and you can hear noise from the outside. When walked in we were shocked at the sound difference. AJ and I joke that our store is going to be nicer than our house!

We met with our Pepsi rep to order beverages such as Gatorade, energy drinks, soda, water, coffee and condiments. Our ice machine will get delivered as soon as we get electricity.

We picked up our juniper slabs

We recently drove to Young, AZ, to get the juniper slabs for the bar top on the patio. Machelle’s mom’s neighbor was selling his juniper slabs as he knew he would never have the time to make them into a bar top. These will be on the patio at the store for people-watching and just hanging out. People will bring their own drinks and sit on the patio in our refurbished chairs to soak in the view.

What a stunning drive that was to Young, AZ! We had never been there before and it is such a cute little town with new and old homes. They have a winery there! It’s a destination place to visit!

Slabs of Alligator Juniper

While we left with slabs that averaged 100” in length x 18” wide x 2” deep, we also found two slabs that were 122” long! He even gave us a slab of white oak to use elsewhere. Happy Happy day for us! As handy as AJ is, sealing the wood with resin is not for a beginner. We made a few calls and were connected to a local gentleman who makes wood furniture. All I can say is, we saw his work and were ready to hire him. He is going to make this wood look SO NICE with the grain coming through and that can handle the elements. We can hardly contain ourselves with giddy joy. He is starting next week and we cannot wait to show you his work when finished.

Siding is complete!

AJ finished the siding

AJ finished all the siding and he installed the hog wire inside the porch railing. I finalized all the proofs for the T-shirts and Hoodies and those will be completed in about a week.

Store signs

Things are coming together quickly, and we will hustle to get the store open as soon as we can. By our next article we will be officially open, and we cannot wait to share the progress of the check-in area.

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



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Richard & Marian
2 months ago

We have laughed (and cried) with you through your journey. Having built a mobile home park from the ground up, it brought back many memories. Thank you for sharing.

Machelle James
2 months ago

Hi Richard and Marian. I bet you can relate on SO many levels! The ups, downs, highs and lows. I can’t wait for the day we get to say that to the next folks we meet starting from the ground up! What a roller-coaster!

Neal Davis
2 months ago

Wow! So much progress! Congratulations! You have a fantastic campground and it’s still getting better! Thank you for taking us along with you!

Last edited 2 months ago by Neal Davis
Machelle James
2 months ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

Hi Neal! We are SO PROUD of how it is turning out! Thank you for the kind words of support. We truly love what we do!

David Purvis
2 months ago

I have been a member of RVtravel for a few years now so have been able to see a few previous articles from your efforts to get the park open. I look forward to a trip your way. Since you don’t open until April, I presume you have to wait for snow melt? Will be watching to see when you get your store open, best of luck and wish .

Machelle James
2 months ago
Reply to  David Purvis

Hi David! The weather is the reason we don’t “Officially ” open up until April 15th. It snows in April and most businesses up here don’t open up here until then as well. It can get down right freezing still and most campers do not like the cold.
We do hope you can make it our way as we love meeting our readers!

2 months ago

Keep the updates coming. Best of luck to you.

Machelle James
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Hi Ron! We definitely will! The building is almost complete and we HAVE to share it with you all!!

Joe Allen
2 months ago

Always look forward to your articles on your dream come true! Can’t wait to make a visit there and enjoy the solitude and your smiling faces! Congratulation on your hard work!

Machelle James
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe Allen

Hi Joe! Thank you for the kind words of support. We love it when our guests pull up and see them so happy to get out of the heat! We truly have the best Campers and we are thrilled they are here!

Ed D.
2 months ago

Good morning Machelle,

It is 5:45 AM here at our place on the Lake in NC. We just arrived at 5:00 AM. As tired as I am, I still turned on my computer and was pleasantly surprised to see your article was posted already. The store is coming along beautifully and the slabs will be a site to behold. We brought our Class C along for some weekend trips. What usually would cost about $240.00 for Gas to get it here, is now costing $388.00. YIKES!
This should be a real exciting year for you guys. You will get to see pretty much the finished Campground by Fall. I can’t wait to see all of the pictures of the store and the campground. Your guests are lucky to find such gracious and kind hosts. It is hard to find a Campground where guests are treated like they are family. For most Campgrounds, it is just a business and we are just “customers”. Still looking forward to coming up to meet you guys and see the Campgrounds. Have a great season and we will see you in the trees!

Machelle James
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

AWWWW ED! You made us both smile with delight. Glad you made it to your other place and look forward to hearing of your travels.
I think you are right. We do treat our guests like family as it just feels like a natural thing to do. We live here and it is like having guests in your home. You want them happy and having fun. So we offer that!
The bar tops are going to be so gorgeous we can barely stand it!
Thank You for taking the time to comment so early and See You in the Trees!!

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