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August 21, 2005

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The Great Whimsical Sherlockian Tour
of Oklahoma and Texas (2005)

Part 2

By Don Hobbs


Day three started in Borger, Texas, population 13,000 with a quick breakfast and a quick look at the maps. We were on the road as planned at 7 a.m. for our 500-mile trek to Fort Davis, Texas. The day’s drive wasn’t close to the Bataan Death March but at times all of us became a little stir crazy and could have killed at the least provocation. The drive from Borger to Fort Davis traverses some of the most uninteresting geography on earth. We passed the hours playing Sherlockian Road Tonga, another one of Brad’s creations. Using quotes from the Canon, we found the objects mentioned in the quote along the road. Even this diversion did not keep us from slipping into total silence until we were within 50 miles of Fort Davis when the scenery changed abruptly. The Davis Mountains were a pleasant surprise for all of us. They rise out of the Chihuahuan desert to form a unique "sky island". They are often said to be the most scenic area in Texas and who were we to disagree.

It was the perfect backdrop for the Sherlock Holmes Outpost, owned and operated by Mr. Robert Bauer. This was the last scheduled stop on our tour and what a stop it was. We entered and were greeted with the warmest of welcomes and the coldest of beer. The Sherlock Holmes Outpost is located on Front Street in Fort Davis, which is just one block off the main and only drag in town. It is divided into The Martha Hudson Dinning Room and The Dr. Watson Club. Both sides are filled with all sorts of Sherlockian treasures. There are plenty of framed posters covering most of the walls and behind the bars are other 3-dimensional objects d’art. We reserved a table for dinner and went off to explore the surrounding area.

Dinner was a cross between west-Texas ranch-house cuisine and something that was hard to name. The menu was practically void of any English cuisine but filling nonetheless. Our selection of wine was far from the greatest but otherwise all was well. Herb, whom I have never seen drink alcohol, tasted his wine and proclaimed even he knew this was not very good! At some point during dinner, I had to excuse myself from the group and seek out the little room around the corner. In the men’s room at The Sherlock Holmes Outpost is a poster from The Criterion Bar. This is a Chicago area scion society and on this poster are the names of their members. As I am standing there reading this poster, I notice two names of fellow Sherlockians who had actually bought "Sher(s)" of the G.W.S.T.O.T. documentary project.

When we decided to hire a videographer to document the G.W.S.T.O.T. there was the question of how to pay for the project. We came up with a plan to sell "Sher(s)" to fund it. There were 100 "Sher(s)" sold to various Sherlockians around the world. Here were the names of "Sher" holders in the restroom in Fort Davis, Texas!!

The bar next door made up for any shortcomings of the restaurant. We had a grand time mingling with the locals. They certainly tolerated our presence and found us mildly amusing. Several allowed themselves to be interviewed for our documentary and others avoided us like the plague. We bought plenty of the souvenirs offered at the bar such as polo shirts, caps, and coffee mugs. We did not quite shut the bar down but we did leave with our wallets lighter. Everyone was happy and agreed it was a place to return too someday. We bid good night to all of our new best friends and retired for the evening


On Sunday morning in Fort Davis, Texas, the streets were deserted especially at 7 a.m. We were told incorrectly that the drug store located next door to the hotel would be open and we could have breakfast before we hit the road. This was not the case so we had no choice but to head out on empty stomachs. We made it to Pecos, Texas where Lilly Langtry once lived and ate. We stopped once more for lunch and once for gasoline. We covered the 532 miles without any incidents. We pulled into my driveway at 5:15 p.m. and the odometer read 1,896.5. We were all hoping it would read 1895 but we all agreed it was close enough.

The exhausted tour members said one last round of good-byes before heading back to the real world but not before making plans for another Whimsical Sherlockian Tour to some other place. Of course we will all wait until the numbness leaves our bottoms!!