Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Operating an RV park: Check-in/store is finally being built!

By Machelle James
From my view here, I can see two things happening outside my window at the RV park. First and most exciting, I see construction happening. I can see a crew of guys outside, digging, spreading rock, installing plumbing and rebar. We are so thankful to announce that our Check-In and Store is FINALLY being built!

Side view of store location

After not being able to secure a concrete company for 5 months, we finally found a company that called us back AND gave us a fair quote! The concrete truck should be here next week and I can show you the design we picked for the concrete floor and patio area.

Front view of store location

I am a little nervous about the windows, doors and supplies we need, as we are hearing there are numerous delays within the construction industry. We are ordering the windows online tonight and hoping they come in when the lumber gets delivered. Our goal is to have our store fully up and running by April 1st, before we open back up April 15, 2022.

The seasons are changing; reservations are down

The second thing is – the seasons are changing and our reservations have slowed down… a LOT! It seems once the temperature changes to a high of 65 and the lows are in the 40s, most people think its too cold to camp anymore. I can say that the day times are WONDERFUL up here and the nights are brisk, but as long as you have a campfire going, it’s not bad at all!

We just started to adjust/lower our rates to accommodate those that want to camp in the off season. I think it is working as we have had four new reservations today alone. Our last day to be “officially” open this season is Nov. 7, 2021.

Campground Management School

AJ and I will be going back to Campground Management School for a week in November, right after we close. Most people don’t know that type of school even exists – but it does! It is for campground owners and managers who want to grow their parks, learn the newest trends, see the latest supplies from vendors, learn about ADA compliancy and how to market their parks. We learn about our rights as campground owners from law firms, as well as residents’ rights based on what state you live in.

The KOA president comes out and speaks about the occupancy rates for all KOAs. Also, the ARVC (The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds) reports on total occupancy for private campgrounds and parks across the country. We have plenty of networking opportunities: meeting with bankers, engineers, designers, tractor supply outfits, tiny house builders, wagon builders, bathroom designers and consultants who want you to succeed. It is so rewarding to be around like-minded people who have been in your shoes, and who can connect or guide you to what you are searching for.

What we’ll improve at the RV park before next year

I have to say that after being open for 4 months, we have learned so much about what we need to do for next year.

First, we HAVE to cut down some scrub trees. We really wanted to see if we could keep as many trees as possible. I will tell you, our campers like their awnings to be open and there are a few scrub trees that need to come out as they are in the way.

Second, we need to plant more trees, flowers or shrubs in areas that have no grass or privacy.

Third, we need to compact the ground with a roller type of tractor to really get the dirt compacted. We will then add more gravel as needed with any low spots or unevenness. After we had 11 inches of rain in one month, everyone was sinking! We will add this to our list of must-do’s before we open back up.

Fourth, we’ll have more events. The event area was finally graded in the middle of September and now we need planned events in that area. We will be reaching out to various clubs and organizations to plan BBQ cook-offs, children’s activities, star-gazing, and fun games for kids and families to play.

We 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 on Facebook @ AJ’s Getaway RV Park or on the web.


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Bob M (@guest_147667)
2 years ago

Good luck with the windows and other materials. I ordered a Pella window from Lowe’s Aug 20 and it still isn’t here yet. A contractor ordered kitchen cabinets to install in our kitchen way before the windows and we still haven’t heard anything. Contractors are also price gouging people or as you found out. Contractors are not returning calls. Some would rather do new work that has high profit quick.

Machelle James (@guest_147898)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob M

Hi Bob- Yes, we are well aware of this window situation. I am calling a local window manufacturer in our state to see what their turnaround time is. I’ll go get them myself in the truck and trailer! I have a good connection with Habitat for Humanity if need be too. Crazy times we are living in for sure!

Ed D. (@guest_147541)
2 years ago

Machelle, I am glad to see that you had a good first year. There was never any doubt in my mind that you would. Your tenacity, hard work and “can do” attitude, was all you needed to be successful. But as you said, improvement is always needed. The good part is that you know what you need to do to make a positive change. I can not wait to visit your park next year. But the way gas prices are going, I don’t know if anyone will be able to afford to go cross country! Either way, we will make it out to your area! Thank YOU for keeping us informed of what it takes to realize your dreams at an RV Park. Your reports have been a welcome and looked forward to, item in my reading experiences. Keep up the good work and we will see you in the trees! Thanks again for your letters!

Machelle James (@guest_147891)
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Hi Ed! Awww! You are such a great cheer-leader! Always positive and we just love that!
Hopefully the gas prices don’t hamper your plans and can still travel. We do look forward to meeting you one day!!

Ed D. (@guest_147926)
2 years ago
Reply to  Machelle James

We own our own business, so the Gas prices will never keep us down. 🙂

Rick Edgar (@guest_147301)
2 years ago

Congratulations on your first season. It has been a joy and pleasure following your story. So much to learn! Wishing you the best for upcoming year.

Diane McGovern (@guest_147435)
2 years ago
Reply to  Rick Edgar


RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Diane McGovern

This is another “Diane McGovern” – not me. But I “X3” your and Rick’s comment! Thanks. 🙂 –Diane McGovern at RVtravel.com

Machelle James (@guest_147454)
2 years ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Well this was for sure confusing to me as well!! Two of you! Well you both have been a huge supporter for a very long time- THANK YOU!

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Machelle James

You’re welcome, Machelle. Yep, even I get confused when I see my name on a comment. Like … wait a minute! Did I write that? Keep up the great work (with your campground and with your writing), Machelle! Take care. 🙂 –The other Diane McGovern

Machelle James (@guest_147452)
2 years ago
Reply to  Rick Edgar

Thank You Rick for following along so long! It’s been a learning curve for us for sure- next year will be better and more organized. Thanks again for the well wishes!

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