Well the girls made it out in a little under an hour, and we hear them announce that on the speakers, so we figured we might as well try to find all the pieces of the map since we lost the race for best time. But after walking around a little more we were just re-exploring paths we'd already seen and still missing crucial parts of the map that would tell us how to get to an entire section of the maze we couldn't find our way into (which includes the exit and 4 map pieces).
At one point we passed under the Victory Gallop (bridge) where an employee was standing and asked if we wanted a clue. She told us to head for the "Snake's Eye" section of the map, which we had been to before and was on a completed section of our map. From there we need to go down the center of the maze to find the exit.
So we went back up there to section #1 of the map where the snake's eye is. We found the spot, but there were no paths in that area we hadn't explored yet. One of the crucial map pieces we needed was #2, and at one point we could see the mailbox through a row of corn but we couldn't get there. So dad cheated and cut through to grab that part of the map so we could maybe figure some stuff out. I didn't like the idea of cheating, but I guess I was outvoted.
It turns out the new piece of the map didn't help us at all. And after another hour the boys were getting tired of trying. So the next time we passed under the Victory Gallop, dad led the boys through the employees-only path to the exit, but I took the flag and map and wanted to keep trying.
As I kept walking around, I realized I was in areas we had already been and I couldn't find any new turns to take me into the center part of the maze that we hadn't yet found. So, starting from the point where dad cut through a wall, I figured if I follow that wall and always make right turns, I should eventually end up on the other side, right? So that's what I did.
Doing so took me 3/4 of the way around the entire maze. I was beginning to wonder if maybe there was in fact NO way to get into that section of the maze without cheating, and they ask you at the end if you cheated, and if you say no they know you're lying. :) But then I found myself in a section I hadn't been to before, and found a new piece of the map. I guess the boys were up on the bridge watching for me and the employee announced on the speakers that I found that map piece and congratulated me (by team name). A little while later I heard Connor's voice on the speakers telling me to hurry up. Then the employee says "I hope you heard that, Uncle Dan, you've got some people up here waiting for you." Gee, thanks. :-P
As I continued looking for the exit, I came upon the tower in the middle of the maze where another employee is stationed. She told me that if I head up this one path from that point and always make left turns, it will take me to the exit. So I went down that path. I thought I made every left turn but the exit didn't seem to be getting closer, and I found a new map piece on the way. So with only two map pieces left to go, I thought I might be able to find them quick. I ended up back at the tower again and confirmed with her that I went up the right path. But I looked down a different path this time and found one more map piece, then got back to the tower once more.
Now I only had piece #8 missing, so I asked her if that piece is really far away, and she said it was, so I said I'll just look for the exit then, because I didn't want to keep the kids waiting. I went up the path she said and made all left turns. It took me down a few dead ends, like she said it would, but after quite a while it did actually take me there. I guess I just gave up too early the first time - she didn't say it would be such a long hike.
So I found the exit and grabbed my missing map piece from the bin there. My sister had already left with her kids. Connor's face was covered with chocolate ice cream. And he kept asking me if I heard him say something about a door. I had no clue what he was talking about. I told him I heard him on the speaker, but that wasn't it. I dunno.
So then we drove back home to go swimming at the swim club. I hadn't been there in a few years. Membership is quite low now, but that's fine - I wouldn't like a crowded pool. So we got in and threw Jordan around in the shallow end for a while. She couldn't get enough of that. She'd also straddle a noodle and have me pull her through the water until she fell off. What a nut. :) Then we hung out in the deep end for a while and the kids jumped off the diving boards. I think I pulled a muscle around my ankle somewhere with one of my jumps. That'll be sore for a while. But all in all, it was a great time. I love to swim. :)
Then we dropped the kids off at my brother's place and went home for a nice Mexican dinner. Yum.
Now I need to get ready for Los Grandos Picnicos 2002: Calientissimo Ochissimo! That starts at noon. I made some banana muffins last night for it. But I don't think the bananas were ripe enough. :( Why does the store only stock green bananas? What if I don't have time to let them get yellow at home? Oh well. The muffins aren't BAD, really, they just aren't full of moist banana goodness. They're more like Zucchini bread where you don't even really taste the Zucchini. Or carrot cake where you don't taste the carrots. Etc.