However, we've made a few dicoveries along the way. Where we are stationed can determine our fall activities. Apple picking in the desert? Not so much.
Over the years, we've learned to adjust to our surroundings. The leaves don't change colors when there aren't many tress. Adaptation: Drive a few hours into the mountains, or take a long weekend away (check out our recent adventure to the Santa Fe National Forest) No apple picking? Adaptation: purchase store apples and make apple cider at home.
You get the picture, yes? Bloom where you're planted!
In recent years, we've devolped a new tradition, one I know we'll miss when we're restationed again. We've grown to love our outings to the Mesilla Valley Corn Maze.
This outing is MUCH more than a maze... there are games, contests, and rides. Pumpkin and gourd picking, fresh food, and of course, the maze itself.
We've gone as a couple, and we've gone with our friends. I have to say, the bigger the group, the better! This year, we introduced my good friend Abby, and her husband Paul, to the maze. I'm sure you remember Abby, yes? Not only is she awesome in every way possible, but she writes an excellent outdoorswoman blog. It's all coming back to you, isn't it?
There we all are! Ok, so I'm behind the camera, but I'm there too. Technically.
Since the Hubs and I stop here each year, we already know our favorite pasttimes (Big Wheel Racing!). But Abby and her hubs have yet to explore. Sometimes I miss out on all the other games, since the Hubs and I make a beeline for the race track. It was great exploring with some newbies! We saw all our favorite things, and we experienced all the games we sometimes forget. We started at the beginning, wandering through the entrance and stopping at each attaction along the way.
A giant tic-tac-toe board, using tires... I mean, what else would it be?!
I know it seems simple, but we really got into this old-fashioned pastime. I mean, REALLY got into it. As in, we all played several games apiece.
No, we're not OCD (except for me, ha). The real reason we played so much is because nobody could beat this guy:
Yes, Paul is the champ. But I think he cheated. (Is that even possible in tic-tac-toe??) Regardless, we all lost miserably, or else we tied The Man. Of course, I'm used to losing at these types of competitions, since the Hubs regularly kicks my butt in all things game-related. It's sad, but true.
Moving forward, I was looking for a little activity. Something that required a little less strategy. Something I could hope to win.
Something like... Giant hamster wheels for humans.
Turns out, giant hamster wheels are AWESOME! Especially when you're racing. The Hubs and I raced too, but I'm on vacation as I write this post, and I'm completely scatterbrained. The end result is I left those pictures halfway across the country, so this is all you get. I'll be posting the complete set of photos to my Facebook page as soon as I get home, I swear.
Except the ones that make me look like an idiot.
But you can see all the rest! (Or, you can check out Abby's blog post from the same day and see my silliness).
Needless to say, we spent quite a lot of time on the hamster wheels. Boys will be boys, and when it comes to toys, the men are still little boys. They raced, climbed, and jumped. The tried different techniques, and compared wind speed. The womenfolk (me and Abby), shouted words of encouragement and then words of caution. We played too, but mostly with our cameras! It was an exhilerating half hour. Seriously.
After all that spinning, we were feeling a little goofy. We relaxed with a few more candid pictures of each other...
(See, I was there, for reals!) We meandered around, enjoying the day and the atmosphere. Of course, the boys found plenty to keep them amused:
I just shake my head and repeat my mantra, boys will be boys. Apparently, being a boy involves riding a miniature tricycle, but what do I know?
Abby and I didn't ride the tricycles, but that's because we're smart enough to know they were for children, and we let each of ours run ahead to play, haha! We did have fun recording their silliness (By the way, doesn't it just make you smile to see your hubs so happy? I know it totally gets me).
There are so many fun activities here, it's hard to keep track. But, I know we hit up the store for snacks and drinks, the food booths for lunch (Omg, the corn on the cob was to die for!), the big sack slides, Scotty's Scoopers (playing in the dirt, great for the boys!), Paver Mazes, and all the photo ops.
The BEST part though??
The Jo-Jo-A-Rama Speedway!
Two tracks, side by side, armed with grown-up Big Wheels for racing!
So comletely cool.
Of course, we had to race. Several times, in fact, both against each other and sometimes just for fun. I gotta say, this track is hard work! After a few laps, you find yourself wearing down, ready to man the camera for a while instead.
We all had a turn, on the track and as the photographer:
The best race, though, was between the Hubs and Paul.
The Hubs was just a little too cocky... laughing as he rounded the corners, cackling when he pulled ahead...
He was in the lead as they screamed around the last curve (easily doing 3mph, hahaha)...
The Hubs looked behind him and laughed... and then he CRASHED. Paul raced into the lead at the last moment, fist pumping as he crossed the finish line.
Don't worry, the Hubs' ego was more bruised than anything else. And this picture was priceless, yes? Totally worth it.
ANYWAY, I know you're wondering by now where the actual 'maze' is at the Mesilla Valley Corn Maze. There really is a corn field, with a fun maze cut into it. Actually, the shape of the maze changes every year... this way, you never know from one year to the next how to get through it.
I'm not sure that knowing ahead of time would have helped us at all...
Which way do we go???? No one knows.
The boys braved out the entire maze, determined to complete the whole thing. But Abby and I dipped out early when we passed close to the beginning again. The pumpkin patch was calling our names!
Granted, we didn't actually pick any pumpkins. We took the hayride just for the photographs and the spin around the fields!
For normal people, the patch offers not only pumpkin picking, but also gourd and squash picking too. If you're not into the whole pick-it-yourself adventure, Pumpkin Junction has a great selection of already harvested pumpkins (and gourds, etc.).
By this time, the boys had worked their way through the maze, and they were tuckered out. Plus, Abby and I were a bit sleepy ourselves!
The Mesilla maze has been a tradition with the Hubs and I since our first year at this particular duty station. I think we've now converted Abby and Paul into avid maze goers as well.. If you're ever in the area, be sure to check it out, and don't forget a spin around the Jo-Jo-A-Rama Speedway!
The Facebook photo album will be coming soon, with even more pictures for your viewing enjoyment. Until then, happy Fall to you... make the most of it before the winter comes!
Thanks for reading, everyone!
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