2007.10.28 USS Midway and Belmont Park

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The weather on Day 2 took a turn for the better! When we stepped out of the hotel at 9:30, the sun was shining and the temperature was absolutely perfect. This is the “San Diego Day” that we had been looking forward to! With that in mind, there was the faint smell of smoke in the air. But later in the day, either it got removed by the wind, or we just got used to it, as we didn’t notice it any longer.

For breakfast this morning, we went to a local hole-in-the-wall, called the Cheese Shop. (Their menu really had nothing to do with cheese specialties, so I’m unsure of the purpose of the name.) This place’s claim to fame is that they sell “Cheese Shop Frisbees”, with their name plastered across the Frisbee. All over the walls of the restaurant are pictures of people with their Frisbee taken at famous locations around the world, such as the Eifel Tower, Great Wall of China, and Cadillac Ranch. The breakfast was good, and there was so much of it that none of us finished our meal.

 

Outside the Cheese Shop, in the Gaslamp Quarter.

 

After breakfast, I had to attend a conference, so I was stuck inside the Convention Center, while the family got to be tourists.

Stephanie and the kids walked about 6 blocks to the USS Midway. The Midway is an aircraft carrier sitting in the San Diego harbor. It served from 1945 – 1997. No aircraft carrier in history served as long as this ship. The ship was designed to hold 3500 sailors, but it typically held about 4500.

 

Miles and Mallory in front of the USS Midway.

 

When commissioned, it was the largest ship in the world for a decade. It was built on the hull of a battleship, so the steel used was much heavier and thicker than a typical aircraft carrier. The result was that ship sits much lower in the water than aircraft carriers built after her. The USS Midway was too large to fit through the Panama Canal. It is really interesting to hear and read about all the “firsts” that this ship was involved in. Planes from the USS Midway shot down the first (and last) MIG in the Vietnam War, and it also fired the first shot in the 1991 Iraq War. The USS Midway picked up 4 Apollo capsules from moon missions. The list goes on and on…

 

On the deck of the USS Midway.

 

The tour used headphones so that you would walk up to a part of the shop, and there would be a number on it. You punch in the number and the headphones would tell you about that part. But also, all throughout the ship, there were Navy Veterans that would answer questions, or give first hand information about their life on the USS Midway.

 

Miles Photo: a picture of the animitronic Captain on the USS Midway.

 

This tour was enjoyed greatly by Stephanie and the kids, and they spent about 3 hours on the ship. Down on the harbor near the USS Midway was a 25 foot sculpture titled “Unconditional Surrender”. It brings to life the famous black and white image of a sailor kissing a young nurse in Times Square, New York City, on August 14, 1945.

After leaving the Midway, the family made their way to Belmont Park, which is an amusement park right on the beach. They took the trolley to Old Town, and then got on the #8 bus and rode it to Mission Beach. The kids are enjoying getting to ride on Public Transportation in a big city, as this is a first for them.

The big draw of Belmont Park is its big roller coaster, called the Giant Dipper. It is one of only two roller coasters on the beach on the west coast. This amusement park sounds a lot more romantic than it really was. The Belmont Park staff was worse than your average high school flunkie that you would expect to find working there. They gave out bad information which resulted in us not getting to ride as many rides as we really should have. Also, the rides were so spread out that we stumbled across the Tilt-o-Whirl by accident.

 

Mallory Photo: A ride at Belmont Park.

 

Mallory was a ½ inch too short to ride the Giant Dipper, but Miles and Stephanie rode it once. All in all, the kids got to ride 4 or 5 rides. At least it was on the beach! The kids got to dip their toes in the very cold water of the Pacific. Even though the ocean was right there, the kids were much more interested in Belmont Park! With that being said, they did get to watch the sunset over the Pacific, which Stephanie enjoyed.

 

Miles and Mallory riding the Vertical Plunge at Belmont Park.

 

One of the interesting things that happened while at the beach was that the family was sitting on the Boardwalk putting their shoes back on, after getting in the water, when a jogger came up to them and said, “Is that an Oklahoma State shirt?” Both Stephanie and Miles were sporting their school colors, so they said, “Yes it is!”. The jogger explained that she graduated from OSU in July! She was originally from Mission Beach, but went to school in Stillwater, and now she is back in California. Small world!

 

Kids at Mission Beach.

 

At the end of the day, after they made it back from Belmont Park, and I was out of my conference, we met in the Gaslamp District for dinner at one of the many trendy places found there. We left the restaurant about 10:00, and the kids were exhausted, so I had just enough time to hear about their day before they got too tired to talk.

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