Why Write an RV Park Blog?
It's always a little weird thinking about what kind of things you should write about on your new blog. This effort is no different. For a few weeks I've been tossing around the idea of adding a blog to our site, but I've been so unsure about what to write or what I could possibly capture that would be relevant and useful for you to read. Are there enough blogs about RV parks? Are there enough blogs about Pensacola, FL? There probably are and they fit varying degrees of subject matters. That's OK with me. So, putting uncertainty aside, we shall begin. This blog will most definitely be an evolution.
The Tuna Tower
In 2009 I had an amazing opportunity to meet Vincent, his wife Dee and their 2 great boys. We were introduced by mutual friends and immediately hit it off. We began a series of conversations at the family meeting point, the Tuna Tower.
The Tuna Tower is one of the most unique and beautiful places in all of Florida. It's Vince's secret place. It's located on an island south of Pensacola. Like its name implies, it is a large tower that is built off the edge of a cliff over the amazingly beautiful and crystal clear water for which that the Gulf Coast is famous. The area is laden with fantastic live oaks and giant magnolia trees. Every single morning, the Tuna Tower hosts epic sunrises. Every evening, you are treated to a magnificent sunset over the water. It's a wonderful place.
Our conversations lead to the idea of partnering up and starting an RV park. This is something with which Vincent
had plenty experience. He currently had 2 lovely local RV parks and had been enjoying their communities.
So, the conversation had begun. On the flip side, I was moving far away from Pensacola. I had recently left active duty with the Navy. I spent 9 years as a Naval Aviator and was looking for my next challenge. I landed in Washington, D.C. where I did strategic consulting for a number of clients with a large D.C. firm. Every day I would sit on the Metro train amongst the sea of fellow commuters and long for a golf cart, a brimmed hat and a glass of ice cold lemonade in Pensacola. I got married, had kids, and settled into life "inside the beltway."
In April 2012, I planned a trip with my family out to Pensacola. While there, Vince took me out to a property for sale that could be a good location for an RV park. We walked around, looked it over and after talking with the bank that owned it, decided we'd keep looking. That November, while on another trip down to Pensacola, I got a call from the guy at the bank who told me that another property was coming available. He told me it was an old abandoned property near Interstate 10. I went over to the address and couldn't see anything over the big fence, so what do you do? I climbed over the fence and landed in brush up to my chest. There was a road that cut through the giant weeds. Once I found it, I walked around for what seemed like an eternity. The land was HUGE!! Imagine big trees, tall weeds, and telephone poles dotted across 12 acres of land, completely isolated from the surrounding areas, but in close proximity to the interstate and good local restaurants. I couldn't believe it. I called Vince and we arranged a time to meet. Then I called my wife and told her. "Wow," I said. I couldn't believe how huge the land was.
It turns out that the property was built by FEMA in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan destroyed much of Pensacola. FEMA constructed a park designed to hold 80 mobile homes across the 12 acres. In 2006 or 2007, FEMA removed all of the trailers and left the land vacant. When we happened upon the park, no one even knew it existed. It had been overlooked for years and years.
Building a Dream
We were all head over heels for the land, but we were cautious. It took us 2 long years of business planning, negotiating, and wrangling, but in September 2014, Vincent and I were finally given the keys. The family moved down from DC, I got a sturdy pair of steel toe boots and a CamelBak to stay hydrated. Vincent gave me a sun hat and a pair of gloves and we got to work. It was furious. Thank God for Vincent's expertise planning and building RV parks. He masterfully conducted the orchestra.
Two days after Thanksgiving, it was pouring rain when 2 RVs showed up and asked if they could
stay with us. 15 minutes later, 3 more RVs showed up. I think we had 7 sites ready for people to park. We were open for business. Five Flags RV Park was born in that moment. It was amazing. We had a temporary banner up front by the road announcing that we were opening soon. Our office was the front door of the house we had torn apart while we were remodeling it.
It has truly been an amazing journey. Today, after being open for about 8 months, we are rocking and rolling. The reception to Five Flags RV Park has been amazing. We've had so many wonderful guests who have become part of our family. Our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook postings and interactions have been a blast. We've received tons of recognition on TripAdvisor and our website Reservations are booming.
We are honored to be a part of Five Flags RV Park and are so happy that you help make us happen. I am excited about creating new blog content. We will reconnect very soon. Until then, "Safe travels happy camper!"