Friday, September 22, 2023


Operating an RV park: We passed the health inspection, and more updates

By Machelle James
AJ and I were pacing the floor waiting for the Health Inspector to arrive. AJ had installed the plumbing, per their specs, and he installed a 3-sink wash bay for our coffee bar area. He also had to install a mop basin sink for our dirty floor water and a handwashing sink in the bathroom.

Coffee bar area

One thing to finish up was the wiring for all the electrical switches. Some wires were hanging out without wall plates and he had to get them all connected. This also made him install lights in the bathroom and office in a hurry! We installed the soap and paper towel dispensers and set out all the trash cans.

One good thing about calling for an inspection is that you have to get everything done to receive your “Permit to Operate.” Well, the inspector came in and turned on all the water faucets, checked for hot water, checked under the sinks for leaks, turned the lights on and off, and checked the temperatures for the Pepsi fridge and the ice cream freezer.

Took the inspector through the park

Then she asked me take her through the park for an inspection of the septic lines, making sure they all had caps on them, as well as checking that we had plenty of trash cans on the property.

She was surprised at how large our sites were and commented how you don’t see many campgrounds like ours very often. She gave us two thumbs up for having a very unique setup, and praised us for having all pull-through spaces. After that, she came back in the store, took some notes and handed us the certificate to Operate.


Patio area


HALLELUJAH! We did it! AJ and his skills have truly come in handy, AGAIN! We now can say we have coffee in the store! What’s even better is it tastes really good, too. We decided to give the coffee away as a THANK YOU to our campers. We are getting a feel for what is selling the most. As of these last two weeks, it has been ICE, soda and T-shirts. Until we get an ice machine, we had to buy ice in bulk from Walmart and resell it in the store. We still cannot get an ice machine up here, so we are looking for alternatives from Reddy-Ice.

Keeping busy

While I am busy preparing for our town’s Independence Day Parade and events, I am still the reservationist, secretary, cashier, marketing gal and official weed puller. You know how much I love doing that last job. It never ends. The good news is we had the weed killer guy come in, and in a week they should DIE…by the hundreds. I look forward to it. Nasty little buggers. I’m over it, already!

Our store

Our Guests have been anyone from vacationers, passing-through-town guests, up-to-28-day-stays guests, to folks that were in an accident in their RV and needed a place to stay until they found a body shop. We see it all, and it is always an adventure.

Enjoy the photos of the store and patio, as we truly enjoy waiting for our guests on the porch!

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.



  1. Speaking from the point of view of being a contractor for 38 years, I’m glad you got a good inspector.

    • Hi Tim! We were lucky! She likes camping and just loved the Campground. Very thorough she was! Thank You for your well wishes!

  2. Look forward to being in the neighborhood and spending a week or so to see the area. Enjoy being able to follow your progress. As a retired inspector I hope they have treated you well. Best wishes and hope you can relax a little now! Woot woot, you made it.

    • Hi David! Well please come on over and we will give you a tour! Our Inspector was gracious and kind. Very thorough, and did her job well. And yes, we can relax a little more until our next project. We are definitely enjoying this moment!

  3. Machelle, I have been following your story from the very beginning. I always look forward to reading your updates in the weekly RV Travel newsletter and on Facebook. You and AJ can certainly be proud of your accomplishments.
    Congratulations on passing your inspection.
    And, finally, I want you to know that I love that counter top in the photo of your coffee bar area. It is just outstanding.

    • Hi Merlin! Thank you for your support and kind words. We have learned so much during this project and we love sharing it with you all!
      That is the juniper wood, finished by a local woodworker. He has serious skills as it looks amazing in person too. You just want to touch it all the time!

  4. Congratulations! Everything is just beautiful and I’m so glad to see your vision fulfilled!! Best wishes for a successful and profitable season! And Many more to follow!

  5. Getting a little misty eyed just thinking about all you have been through to get to this point in your journey to achieve your goal. Congratulations on passing the health inspection. Office looks amazing. Hoping to see it in person one day soon. You and AJ did a fantastic job, on design and execution. Thank you for including us on your journey.

    • Hi Diane! I’m so happy you FEEL it. That is what I try to express in writing these articles. It has been tough and also SUPER rewarding. We LOVE going to the office everyday. Drinking coffee on the patio, running reports, and planning out our day. It’s SO worth it! We do hope you’ll get to see it in person as well. It’s surprising when you see the details!

  6. Machelle and family,
    First, let me thank you for keeping your promise to me about the Porch Photo. It looks absolutely “amazing”! The countertops and the Rustic looking flooring match perfectly! I am envious and saddened that we will not be able to get up your way this season. I would love to sit out front and meet people. RV’ing to me, is all about meeting and making new friends and acquaintances. I look forward to pulling into your entrance in the near future. It has become my “TOP” bucket list item!
    Congrats on passing the inspection. As I said before, AJ has done an admirable job with the Store. I know he has to beam with pride every time he looks at it. Also, I am sure you are elated about the weeds being sprayed. Definitely a chore that nobody wants!

    (continued below)

    • (continued from above)
      Thanks again for sharing your adventure and journey with all of us. We surely appreciate all you have shown us and now have a total understanding of what it takes to build and operate an RV Park. Until the next time, stay safe and see you in the trees!

      • HI Ed! Thank You for your kind words. You have read our story through the ups and downs. It is so surreal how that store turned out. Better than we could have imagined! Hopefully next year you can make it out our way. We had a Father’s Day event tonight on the patio and it was PERFECT! I’ll share more next time.
        See You in the Trees Ed!

  7. Congrats and welcome to the world of self employed! Yes, you will meet many great caring people in your adventure, but remember, one bad one can erase all the good! Don’t let that one get you down! Wishing you wonderful and gratifying success with many great years ahead!

    • Hi Joe! We let the grouchy ones get under our skin for 5 it through, see if we could have done anything differently. If not, we HAVE to let it go and shake it off, otherwise it is like a thorn in your side. We are still learning and open to ideas and suggestions!


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