By Machelle James
The phone has been ringing off the hook! We took out an ad on Facebook for the Tucson, Phoenix and Maricopa market. WOW was that a hit! Tucson is about a 4-hour drive to us, Phoenix is about 2.5 hours, and Maricopa is 3 hours from us. People are so excited that there is a new campground in the White Mountains and they want to visit.
With rising gas prices across the country, we were nervous about how our business would be affected. As of this writing, we are sold out for the 4th of July and almost sold out for Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends. Some guests said they are canceling their cross-country trips but still traveling, just closer to home. Others said they are still going as they aren’t getting any younger and want to enjoy life while they can still drive.
We are both so thankful that we are in a location that is close enough to get out of that awful Phoenix heat to experience at least a 20-degree temperature change in the daytime and 30 degrees at night. This will be our plan to market our campground as soon as the Valley heat starts becoming unbearable. I grew up in Phoenix and lived there almost my whole life. When the temps go over 110, you do not go outside unless you have to. Even then, you grocery shop at night and the swimming pool isn’t refreshing anymore. This is camping season!
This week’s adventures
This week’s adventures in owning a campground include having the leaky water lines fixed for eight RV sites. Our contractor, Thomas, came up from Tucson to fix all the leaks we discovered last season. It was two leaks, as it turned out. The PVC piping material wasn’t glued properly and the copper lines were bent in a way that they sprang leaks. Thankfully that was fixed in a day, as AJ worked with Thomas to get it done as fast as possible.
We also had to seal the wood beams and ceiling on the patio and the outside of the store area. It took a week for the winds to die down and we had a snowstorm come through unexpectedly.
Our siding was delivered and AJ is working on this with a contractor starting Friday. He couldn’t install that yet as he had to lay electrical wires in a trench with conduit for our store. Then he had to install our electrical panel on the building and wait for an inspection. It passed with no concerns.
Burying electrical lines at the campground
One very efficient project happening is we are burying the high wire electrical lines. They are going underground, all the way to the corner pole of the property. We could not be more excited about this! RVs can fit under the high wires, but it looks dated, and they definitely won’t be swinging in those 50 mph winds anymore!
AJ and I drove to a sawmill in Young (1.5 hours away) to pick out our countertops for inside and outside at the store. We need eight pieces of wood that range from 100” long up to 121” inches long. They will be counter depth for inside, and about 12″-18” for the outside bar top. Now, we aren’t having a bar, but a place to come sit and have a beverage while people-watching or just staying in the shade under the patio cover.
AJ had his garage delivered from Graceland, and WOW is it big! We waited 22 weeks for this bad boy and, so far, it is solid. AJ is just thrilled it finally showed up. What this means is, I can have my laundry room back with NO TOOLS and oily things, paint cans, nuts and bolts, etc., sharing a space with my laundry! It means all the items that have been out in the elements for three years will finally have an indoor home! Shovels, rakes, sign post tools, saws, tool chests, whatever, can get out of our way—no tripping! I think I am more excited about this than anything this week!
Refurbishing metal chairs
I am working on a project that includes refurbishing metal chairs. My mom and her husband love to go to moving sales and garage sales, and use OfferUp to find steals on items. Well, they scored BIG TIME when they helped us look for bar-height chairs for our outside seating area at the store. We will have 12 chairs and 10 need to be refinished. I already wire brushed all the old paint and rust off and now I will paint them after this writing. I purchased material from various stores and am having a local seamstress sew/staple the material and batting on the seats. The chairs are heavy and good quality—they just needed to be fixed up.
We have our Polar Cups at the laser engraving store to have fun sayings on them etched in with our logo. We have T-shirts on the way with our new verbiage and logo starting next week. Also, we ordered hats and sunglasses from a local vendor to bring up in two weeks.
More work on the campground store
I had purchased a scanning gun to ring up items in the store as well as for inventory. I had to figure out how to use it since I never used a scanner before. These next weeks will be setting up inventory SKU’s, ordering snacks from Sam’s Club, finalizing our beverage order from our Pepsi vendor, getting the commercial refrigerator and working on the store, inside and out.
Our regular foam insulation guys have been so busy that we have had to shop around for one that would actually return our calls. That is another holdup we have for not working inside as we have no insulation to start on the walls.
I have a feeling these next four weeks we will be working as hard as ever to get the store up and running before April 15th. Hopefully, then we will have the store finished and you can see what we have been working so hard on!
Thank you for your continued support in 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.