Just for Fun

Schemenauer’s National Vacation – National Parks (Part 2)

Kari Schemenauer
Business Development Manager, The Objective Group

When I was a kid, our summer vacations were always to the same place – the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, to the town of Watersmeet MI on Crooked Lake. We would pack up the car and leave out late on a Friday night. (Dad had to take a nap after work.) Mom would pack a cooler with bologna sandwiches and Coke. We would drive all night, stopping at truck stops for coffee refills. The windows were always down to help keep my dad awake. I remember bundling up in a blanket in the back seat trying to sleep, while in the background were the sounds of the road and the lights. When we would arrive the next morning, we were always greeted by Grandma and Grandpa Cline. We stayed in cabins and fished for the week, hoping to spot a bear if we were lucky.

My husband had grown up vacationing all over the US. (He was always stuck in the back of a station wagon with luggage, while his 3 sisters shared a seat.)

While I would be perfectly content to vacation at the same place every year (TN preferably), my husband and I wanted our kids to see different parts of our beautiful country and enjoy a nice break from Ohio now and then. We have enjoyed some great trips! Here are 4 that stand out in my mind.

Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 

We have enjoyed a few trips to TN over the years. We always rented cabins and stayed in the woods. We have enjoyed many activities including hiking, Parrot Mountain, Dixie Stampede, shopping, and putt putt golf. On our last trip in 2019, my son Will had his first experience playing pool. We played A LOT of pool. (Needless to say, a pool table is a must have in all cabins moving forward.)

Grand Canyon / Las Vegas

We wanted to take a “big” trip out West before our daughter, Elyse, graduated from high school. For this special trip, my kids invited their cousin Cameron. The 5 of us hiked the Grand Canyon, drove on the historic Route 66, took in the Hoover Dam and enjoyed the strip of Vegas. We also enjoyed a Blue Man Group show!


Southern California

Before I met my husband, he spent time as a Marine in San Diego. He was thrilled to take us out to his old stomping grounds and show us around. We made this a family affair! My brother and his family joined us and we enjoyed a week in sunny California, taking in the beaches, local eateries and enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery. So peaceful.


My best friend’s family moved to Oregon when we were in college, so I have been fortunate to take countless trips to the beautiful state over the past 3 decades. I usually go by myself, but in 2010, my daughter joined me. On this trip, we visited Multnomah Falls in the Portland area, spent a few days on the Oregon coast and ventured into Washington state to take in Mount St. Helens.