Deer Me, Nothing Changes

Deer hanging at Burr Oak Lodge 11-09-2014I knew it was deer hunting season in Ohio when I stayed at the Burr Oak Lodge last November. Still, it’s a bit unusual to see Bambi times two hanging from a beam on the way to your room.

Just like in 1968

Nelsonville at night 12-05-1968Maybe I shouldn’t have been too surprised. People in Ohio like their deer meat, I discovered, when I cruised Nelsonville late at night on December 5, 1968. This deer was hanging on a porch not too far from the main drag.

Hauling venison across state lines

Wife Lila told me to go by her Brother John’s house in Jackson to pick up some venison to carry back to Florida. She had it all figured out: He said it’ll be frozen and should make it to Ohio where you can put it in a fridge in your room. When you saddle up to head home, pack it in dry ice, she ordered.

All of that went according to plan until I started to leave Athens. There was no problem getting the dry ice at a Kroger store (minimum quantity was way more than I needed), but the cooler was too tightly packed with deer meat to get any dry ice in it. Either I was going to have to buy a bigger cooler or something was going to have to give.

“Boy, what are you doing?”

An old man in a car next to me watched my maneuverings until he couldn’t stand it any more, “Boy, just what are you doing?”

Showing uncharacteristic good sense, I didn’t say something like “Dropping my wife off along the road. This is the last of her.”

I explained that I was trying to stuff 10 pounds in a five-pound sack.

“I love venison,” he said, wistfully, “and I can’t think of the last time I had some.”

“Today is your lucky day, then,” I said as I handed him a wrapped package of Missouri deer meat. “I’d rather give it to you than throw it away to make room for the dry ice.”

Burr Oak Lodge

Burr Oak Lodge 11-07-2014As you’ve read before, my lodging needs are pretty simple: I look for a clean, cheap room with a decent bed, fast internet connection and a good shower. Even some of those things are negotiable.

I usually stay in the second-cheapest motel in Athens, Ohio. So far as I know, they haven’t let a body go undiscovered for long periods of time, like the CHEAPEST place, which carries the local nickname of The Meth Motel.

No room at the Inn

This trip, however, everything for 30 miles around Athens had been booked because it was Fathers Weekend at Ohio University. Curator Jessica, as a last resort, called the Burr Oak Lodge , a place I thought would be too expensive. It turned out they had ONE room left, and it qualified for “Savvy Senior” pricing for the weeknights.

The only catch is that it is north of Glouster, about 30 minutes out of Athens over some of the hilliest, curviest roads (when they say 15 mph, they mean it) you’ll ever see.  By the time I got to the Burr Oak Lodge because of circumstances I may write about later, it was well after midnight and all I wanted to do was collapse. I DID snap this shot of the front of the building, however,

Wow, this is NICE

Burr Oak Lodge 11-09-2014Since I usually spend all my time sleeping, editing or roaming around, I hardly ever check out the surroundings of the places I stay. I don’t use their gyms, swimming pools or business centers.

Sunday morning, though, I thought I’d stroll through the lounge area of the lodge. I HAD noticed that the large fireplace had openings on both sides and that people were sitting in a sunken area chatting in front of the blaze.

Great view of Burr Oak Lake

Burr Oak Lodge 11-09-2014There is an outdoor walkway off the lounge that puts you into the treetops where you can commune with birds and look out over Burr Oak Lake.

Overlooking the overlook

Burr Oak Lodge 11-09-2014There is a balcony overlooking the lounge area that has its own fireplace, game tables and lots of comfortable seating. As you can see, the lounge is comfortable enough that a guest is napping on a couch.

If I can convince Wife Lila to come to Athens with me, this would be a perfect place for her to sit and quilt while I’m roaming around the countryside.

The lodge has a restaurant, but I discovered a diner about five minutes away that has good home cooking, big portions and small prices. It’s friendly enough that the second time I came in, the waitress brought my iced tea the way I like it without being asked.

“Mommy, what is Bambi doing?”

Cabins are also available. They’re full of deer hunters right now. In fact, one of them had two deer hanging on the front porch. That might be hard to explain to your kids: “Mommy, what is Bambi doing hanging from a rope on that porch?”

This odyssey is coming to a close. After a lunch meeting on Monday, I’m pointing the van south to head to family and warm weather.