Holiday Road

Adventures, misadventures leave lasting memories for family

As roller coaster enthusiasts, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, topped the bucket list for Jason Fraser and his two sons Austin and Andrew.

But getting to the home of 18 thrilling roller coasters meant traveling cross country on a memorable quest for the Frasers. It’s a trip they still talk about and not just for the thrilling rides.

“It’s not the destination. It’s the journey,” Jason recalled.

After selling his first HVAC company in 2017, Jason decided to upgrade his RV and truck. They made a trip to Disney World and the next summer wanted a different adventure. 

Jason, the owner of A&A Air, formulated a plan to take the two boys and a nephew on the pilgrimage to Cedar Point.

“You devote your life to this business and this monster. You look back and you’re like what have I been doing with my time,” Jason said. “I got to reflect and just spend quality time with my boys. Two weeks in the truck with them and our dogs.”

Jason’s wife Laurie flew up to meet the group, as they made their way across the country. He didn’t want to just drive straight through, planning stops along the way. Their first side trip was in Memphis, staying just off the Mississippi River, where they fished, visited Cabela’s, ate barbecue and visited Graceland.

“It’s a big mansion. I can expect the King of Rock N Roll to have something big like that and it was the best back in the day,” Austin said. 

As much fun as they were having in Memphis, they did have a schedule to keep to meet Laurie in Ohio. But that schedule got derailed after a stop in Louisville.

“I had a blowout on the way and that stopped us down,” Jason said. “We were late to pick her up.

“I was on the side of a highway with diesels doing 80 mph past me. I’ve got the boys out there flagging, so I don’t get run over. But we ended up making it.”

Laurie beat them to Sandusky, taking an Uber and settled in. 

They spent four days in Sandusky and rode ride after ride, which Austin said included three of the top 10 roller coasters in the United States.

But the adventure was not over after the final corkscrew ride. They made their way to Michigan to visit family for a few days and then over to Chicago. Driving a fifth-wheel and truck in downtown Chicago was interesting, Jason explained. Staying in a truck yard near downtown, they visited all the sights, including the famed Bean and took in a Cubs game at Wrigley.

“The best thing I remember about Chicago was playing football in a big open concrete area,” Austin said. “There was this dog there and he played ball with us, too.”

After Chicago, Laurie flew home. Jason and the boys hit the road back to Texas with a stop in St. Louis at the Arch and more barbecue. 

The road home included a second blowout. Jason said it wasn’t as stressful due to not being on a schedule.

“Everybody pitched in and said we got this,” Jason said.

They eventually made it home with a lifetime of memories they still talk about over other trips out of the country. 

“We’ve gone on nice vacations, but that’s the one the kids talk about,” Laurie said. “They talk about us in the RV and spending time together.”

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“It’s not the destination. It’s the journey,” Jason Fraser.

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