Day 3: December 25, 2016
Christmas Day

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I arrived at Burr Oak with no idea of how I would spend my time here but came up with a couple of ideas with little effort. I could see a road running along the lake's opposite shore and thought that would be a good place to get pictures of the lodge. I headed there first and crossed over this little beauty along the way.

Reaching the target point was not to be, however. The road I could see from the lodge was closed. I'm guessing it's a seasonal thing but I don't know that. Some hill top cabins were as close as I could get. By carefully aiming a long lens between the trees I could see the lodge but it was hardly the view I'd set out for.

The second idea that developed while at the lodge was a visit to what was once the village of San Toy. It was a coal town that flourished in the early twentieth century then earned the distinction of being the U.S. town whose population had the highest percentage decrease (976 to 128) between 1920 and 1930. A Forgotten Ohio article has some details and photos. I plugged the approximate location into the GPS with visions of reaching there via a state highway from the north. But I was now on the other side of the lake and when I hit "go" the GPS guided me along a much shorter and more scenic route through the park. It was also slightly more adventurous since the recent rain had softened up the dirt roads and things did get mildly squirmy in a couple of spots.

My first indication that I was in the right place was spotting the old brick jail. The remnants of several other buildings were also visible along with a lot of no trespassing signs. Exploration wasn't always discouraged and the Forgotten Ohio article has several close in photos. Although San Toy was voted out of existence in 1931, the church still operates and quite a few people live in the area.

This is the state route I thought I'd be approaching San Toy on. The path of General Morgan's 1863 raid is marked and covers quite a bit of southern Ohio. Shortly after the path of the raid moved away from OH-555 I got a road trip Yahtzee.

When I first thought of spending Christmas at Burr Oak I noted that it wasn't too far from the town of Cambridge and its unique Christmas display. My enthusiasm for going there had risen and fallen several times but was on the rise as I left San Toy. I instructed the GPS to take me there. The path it chose included Zanesville and I looped through downtown just so I could drive over the 'Y' bridge.

A Dickens Victorian Village has been appearing on the streets of Cambridge each winter since 2006. There are now nearly 200 figures involved and, while I didn't see every one of them, I walked all but a couple blocks of downtown on Wheeling Avenue and saw most. Selecting these few favorites wasn't easy.

The first group got picked because it shows that a pair of US Highways pass through the heart of the village. Plus the highways themselves are among my favorites. I liked the seated violinist the instant I saw her. I know it had something to do with the "real" violin and its "real" (nylon) strings. Laborers, craftsmen, and artists populate many of the displays and I've chosen the glassblower and photographer. There is a more complete view of the photographer and his subject here.

For reasons I can't quite define, the town crier group was my absolute favorite. It's no doubt partly the tricorn and cape but I think it's mostly what I see as the overall dignity of the trio. Of course a Dickens village has a Scrooge. He appears with the seven years dead Marley. I suppose I should have grabbed a short of the pair as I did with the photographer but it's Marley that pulled me in.

One of the things I learned on the streets of Cambridge is that the city was home to the first Sottish Rite body of Free Masonry west of the Alleghenies. That was in 1852 when A Christmas Carol was just nine years published.

I left Cambridge on US-40 and stayed with it long enough to reach New Concord and the childhood home of John Glenn. Glenn died just over two weeks ago at the age of 95.

I turned the job of getting back to Burr Oak over to the GPS and it surprised me by taking me to the north end of the Morgan County Scenic Byway. The other end is at the entrance to the park so today I got to drive the entire byway in one go. That includes Miners' Memorial Park and the bucket of Big Muskie that I mentioned missing yesterday.

Kentucky had Peabody's coal train. Ohio had this. And daddy won't you take me back to Muskingum County?

I took advantage of the repeat to get some better pictures in the Rim of the World section of the byway. They do better show the rim-like nature of the road but they still don't look like the this (Rim of the World Highway in California).

This year's musical selection comes from The Unipiper. Nothing says Christmas quite like a guy in a kilt riding a unicycle while playing Ode to Joy on flaming bagpipes but you really need to check out more of this fellow's videos. He is a Portland, Oregon, legend whose fame is quickly spreading throughout the land.

Today's background is the snowmen from the Burr Oak Lodge lobby who shared a photo with the big round chandelier in yesterday's journal.

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