Sunday, January 29, 2023


Operating an RV park: Last-minute projects; and why we won’t sell our “baby”

By Machelle James
With the 2022 New Year quickly approaching (Oops, it’s here as you read this!), we are frantically wrapping up last-minute projects. We had to meet with our Campspot reservation rep to finalize our pricing and make any changes on the back end. We open our reservations up to the public on January 2, and we want to make sure we have all the changes in place. We decided to keep our rates the same except for the most popular site we have.

That would be our three RV Buddy campsites with a ramada. It is HUGE, private and gorgeous. We raised it $10 per night and pretty much kept everything else the same. What we did learn is that we weren’t charging tax for our monthly RV storage, so that has been fixed for next year.

What was surprising is that the month of October was a slower month for us. We still had guests, just not as many as we thought we would have. The weather is just perfect here, but we both think that when it is 65° as a high, it is too cold for the Phoenix crowd to still camp. We will market October a little better this year and will offer discounts all month long.

This past week, AJ installed the eaves to the store. Now we wait for the next storm to pass before he can put the plywood sheeting up. We just had 4-5 inches of snow three days ago and now we are expecting 5 inches in the next 24 hours. I am certainly not complaining as I know how badly our trees need the water.

AJ also installed the fence around our house so we can have some privacy. I am not sure how I feel about it yet. I can’t see out like I did before, yet it is comforting knowing no one can see in while I’m cooking dinner. Also, folks aren’t just walking in, thinking our home is the office. (Yes, this has happened many times – even with signs!)

Fencing as seen from our entrance.
View of fencing from our house. Only on one side.

Snow days like tomorrow are full of baking and binge-watching love story movies. Who would have guessed that Jenna LOVES the Hallmark Channel? We happily sit together and drink hot cocoa as we giggle at the obvious plot lines. AJ can barely stomach it and will find any reason to leave the room. But for us girls, this is what we look forward to on snow days!

Snow on AJ’s tractor.

While we get ready for the new year, we are so thankful for where we are and what we do for a living. I have read on about other campground owners selling their parks to corporate owners. We just can’t imagine doing this. We worked too hard to sell it. This is our baby and we truly love what we built here. We wouldn’t change it for the world because happiness cannot be bought!

We wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR, 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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Diane Mc
1 year ago

So happy for you, AJ, Machelle & Jenna. Hopefully we will check you out sometime this year. Happy New Year!

1 year ago

Congratulations! I hope you have a year beyond you dreams, you deserve it.

Ron V
1 year ago

Happy New Year and congratulations on your first season.
Been following your posts here and rooting for you both.

Machelle James
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron V

Hi Ron! Happy New Year to you too! We are very much looking forward to a successful 2022!!

1 year ago

Happy New Year!


Machelle James
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

Hi Tim! Happy New Year to you and your family too!

Neal Davis
1 year ago

Happy new year and congratulations on what you accomplished!

Machelle James
1 year ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

Hi Neal! Thank you so much for your continued support. We truly look forward to 2022 and seeing what it is like with a full season here!
Happy New Year to you and your family!

Ed D.
1 year ago

Hey Machelle & Family, Happy New Year. I hope this year brings you happiness and success beyond your wildest dreams. You deserve it. I sincerely hope that things will go back to normal in the very near future, so we can make a trip up to see you guys. The fence AJ put up was definitely needed.
I believe that a lot of Campground owners that sold out to Corporations, either bought a Campground that was already in existence, or just spent enough years running it and it was time to retire. We all have to make that decision at some point. I just wish that they would try to find a couple to sell it to, as opposed to a Corporation. We all know what Corporations do to most Campgrounds. Be that as it may, you guys are young yet and have a lot of happy years ahead of you. I know you will be successful because you WANT to be.

Ed D.
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Continued from above:
By the way….. I watch Hallmark Christmas Movies all year long. I am the Christmas junkie and my wife is the Grinch! So we are the opposite of you and AJ. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

Have a great Year and we will definitely “See you in the trees”!

Machelle James
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed D.

HAHAHAAA!! I LOVE THIS ED!!! You two seem like us in many ways, just reversed! I truly hope you can make it this way- we would love to meet you!
See You in the Trees!!!

Machelle James
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Hi Ed! Happy New Year to you too! I agree with you on the Campground sellers. They are ready for retirement OR, their campground needs so much work, they are overwhelmed. Big corporations usually have deep pockets to fix the septic, electric or whatever is needed.
We have work to do for sure, but these 6 month off (well, quasi off) are SO worth it!!

1 year ago

I hope you have a happy and successful New Year!

Machelle James
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris

Thank You Chris! Enjoy your day and may 2022 be healthy and happy for you too!

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