Great West Adventure - Day 4 - A Ton of Bricks

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Day 4 - San Diego. Today started out early with Quin waking around 6:00 - he’s getting better. He and I passed time playing iOS games on the iPhone and iPad in the second room of our suite while Jenny and Ethan grabbed 90 more minutes of sleep. By 7:30, Jenny got up and I hit the road for a quick run along the water.

By 9:00 we were off for a full day of vacationing. We decided to load up on breakfast since our plans for the day included Legoland, and our guess was that food would be somewhat expensive there. So I mapped out Perry’s Cafe near the freeway where we all ate enough to skip the next several meals - well, I did anyway! Delicious!

We then headed north to Carlsbad, the home of Legoland California. Our day there started by 10:30 and the park was next to deserted! Apparently Mondays in October aren’t a high traffic time for amusement parks in Carlsbad. No worries. We took in a couple of immediate rides and weren’t so impressed. Hopefully this wasn’t going to be a stinker! By noon we still hadn’t really done much that was too exciting - in fact we waited for about 30 minutes in line for this bicycle ride that was really pretty lame.

Things started to pick up a bit when Jenny and Quinton found full sized, human powered Lego firetrucks lined up for a fireman competition. Our family took on 4 others in moving the firetruck about 50 feet by pumping it like a manual rail car (like in O! Brother Where Art Though), then getting off and putting out a fire using 2 squirt guns, then powering the vehicle back 50 feet. We came in a close second - I blame Jenny as she was manning the device that determined the direction of the vehicle. About 10 feet into our initial surge, she decided to throw it in reverse to test how it worked. I’m pretty sure that cost us precious feet that ultimately would have left us the champs! Oh well.

The day REALLY picked up when we found our way to Miniland, which is an area with Lego models of the United States and several scenes from Star Wars. The Star Wars area was very cool - the designers capturing some of the pivotal moments of all 6 movies and one of the cartoon movies. We spent quite some time there. Then we discovered the USA where they had modeled large sections of San Francisco, Las Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington DC, and New York all in bricks. They even had a small patch that was apparently “The Midwest.” I have to say I was a little insulted. The seemed to put thousands of hours of thought and workmanship into painstakingly replicating every last detail of Las Vegas, then the midwest had a couple of tractors, a church, and a rodeo… We had a hard time getting Quin out of this area - he was completely transfixed by these Lego cars that were automated. He stood and watched this piano truck in San Francisco for no less than 5 minutes. We had to tell him about all the other cool moving cars in the other areas. In all I would estimate we spent at least an hour in Miniland.

After a quick lunch (Jenny didn’t eat enough for breakfast) we ended up with some really fun rides in Adventureland, Pharoh’s Curse (or something), and Castleland. Ethan and I got onto a decent roller coaster, but they wouldn’t let Quin on. Even though he qualified for the minimum height of 42”, Jenny mistakingly admitted his real age of 3 and a half, when they had a strict minimum of 4. The most fun ride of the day turned out to be in Castleland, the Knight’s Quest. It was a strange confluence of new and old with chairs nestled atop these huge robotic arms. Two people would sit in the chairs and select one of 5 different programs, each program getting progressively more aggressive. Jenny and Quin were unable to do any program by 1, the only one allowed for folks under 48”. Ethan and I had no restrictions, however, so we went for a 4. I’m pretty sure we could have gone for a 5. Our last ride of the day was the Dragoncoaster, Quinton’s first roller coaster. As we expected, he loved it. It’s sometimes easy to forget how easy going and adventurous Quin is. I remember taking Ethan to an amusement park in the past, he was 4 or 5, and he was petrified of many rides. We also saw lots of kids at Legoland, kids Ethan’s age and older that were crying uncontrollably at the thought of doing a “scary ride.” Not Quin, he wanted to ride everything. After the ride he loudly exclaimed, “That was awesome!”

After a long day, we headed back south toward our hotel. Carlsbad is about 30 miles north of San Diego, and since it was rush hour we decided to take the scenic route back, so we got onto Hwy 101 and headed south. Quin fell asleep before we got out of the Legoland parking lot, but the rest of us enjoyed a beautiful drive along the coast. At one point we spotted a large group of dolphins feeding or something, so we pulled off the road and watched them for awhile. It was the first time Ethan saw dolphins outside of captivity.

The day ended much like the previous. Quin finally woke up around 6:30, so we had a hard time getting him to bed before 9:30, but once he went down, the rest of us followed in order and quickly. Vacation kicking our butt once again!

Written by Brandon Grady
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