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IPFS News Link • Travel

Is this the ultimate U.S road trip? BBQs, blues and blissful views are the key ingredients...


Driving along the AL-34 highway westwards, the willow oaks and loblolly pines give way to an old iron bridge.

Suddenly, a vast and sweeping panorama of the Coosa River opens up for miles in all directions, the water a flat mirror of the cloudless sky.

This is Alabama and the American South at its most shatteringly beautiful – but there's no time to loiter.

My destination is a small shack about six miles up the road, fabled for its barbecued pork sandwiches.

Butts To Go, on the outskirts of Pell City, is high on my list of essential visits during a 2,200 mile barbecue road trip of the South, taking in Georgia, Alabama, MississippiTennessee and North Carolina.

The right car is essential for any grand tour, and my V8 Mustang is just the job: 1970s cop-show looks, a rag top and an exhaust growl like a Delta bluesman after a night playing a smoke-filled club.

I'm travelling solo (with permission from my forgiving wife) so there are no arguments about maps, music or the calories I consume as I eat my way round the South.

My trip kicks off in Atlanta, Georgia, where the laid-back Darwin Hotel is my base for a couple of days.

Atlanta's a big city but easy to explore by bike or on foot thanks to the 22-mile car-free loop of abandoned railway line called the Beltline.

There are plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants along its course, dazzling public artworks and vast parks.

I walk to Grant Park for dinner at Das BBQ, where giant iron smokers sit like steam trains, stripped of their wheels but still puffing from their smokestacks. The beef brisket is divine.