I've just returned from an epic road trip through the USA's Deep South, a place of charming cities, sweeping mountains and musical marvels. Rather than try and put it into words, the best way to describe this region is actually in numbers…
The approximate number of records sold by Elvis Presley whose house is beautifully restored just outside Memphis, Tennessee with various tours available.
The number of passengers a year that go through Atlanta Airport, Georgia making it the busiest airport in the world, helping to make the whole of the Deep South accessible.
Mexican free-tailed bats form a cloud as they pour out of the Ann W Richards Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas on their nightly feeding foray.
Before the American Civil War there were more millionaires to be found in Natchez, Mississippi than any other place in the United States due to the cotton industry. The grand houses are now restored and run daily tours.
The estimated increase in visitor numbers in Nashville during my stay due to the Ice Hockey Stanley Cup Finals, The Country Music Awards and Bonnarroo festival in nearby Manchester, Tennessee.
Fans can fit into the New Orleans Superdome, the largest domed structure in the world. Home to the NFL's New Orleans Saints (Louisiana). Fans then descend on the French Quarter to make the most of the legendary night life.
The number of restaurants to choose from in Houston (Texas), one of the most diverse cities in the US and the 4th most populous.
Miles driven in just over two weeks in a search of the best hotels, tours, restaurants, bars and experiences in the Deep South. Tip: get a bigger car than you need, the driving is easy but comfort is a must so that you feel ready to explore the next destination.
Mulberry Street Memphis, Tennessee. The location of the assassination of Martin Luther King Junior and now the Site of the National Civil Rights Museum; one of the most moving stops on the trip.
Live music venues in Nashville, Tennessee and growing all the time, there is music everywhere.
Fly directly to Nashville with British Airways on their new direct flights travelling 6,727km from London straight to Nashville. Fly for nine hours and land in the city of music ready to strut your stuff.
Direct weekly flights into the southern states (if you include Florida) with British Airways alone. Virgin Atlantic, Delta, United, American and other airlines also service cities in the South.
The percentage of people who reside in Miami, Florida who speak Spanish - it feels like the capital of South America! In little Havana the percentage goes up significantly.
Hotels all of which can come with personal recommendations for rooms types, location and services. The Faena in Miami, Florida and Dunleith House in Natchez, Mississippi deserve a special mention.
Burgers consumed in varying sizes and quality, it will be a long time before another one is ordered. But, you just can't beat an American burger!
Cities visited; all of which have their own charm to offer and distinct feel. For me, my favourite destination was Charleston, South Carolina. It is steeped in history and has the friendliest people in the US.
States visited with a foray in Arkansas across the bridge from Memphis.
Reason to go back... it is such a huge area, roughly seven times the size of the United Kingdom so trying to fit as much as possible into two weeks is a squeeze. Next time it will involve a ranch break somewhere in Texas and if possible a rodeo.