"Ya'll try to stay dry!" So said our waitress as we stood from breakfast to head out into what was not, certainly, a dry day. The rain had been pelting down from before I woke, and it continued to fall, without let up. Fields of rice were now paddy fields, ditches and bayous were close to overflowing.
It was an unpleasant, slow drive, with wipers going as fast as they could go, but still failing to keep our vision clear. And we were travelling in the wrong direction: towards the darkest clouds, towards the flashes of lightning, towards swamp land.
This part of the country, on a day of heavy rain, does not feel like a place fit for human habitation. Everything, everywhere, is water. Water falling, water rising; the air filled with it, your body sticky with it. All else is sinking or rotting or crumbling.
When we reached our accommodation – the first on this trip to feature a pet alligator – we stayed inside.
I was one of five Scottish writers chosen by Edinburgh International Book Festival to undertake extraordinary journeys across the Americas in spring and summer 2017.
I travelled through the United States for three weeks, from north to south, beginning in North Dakota, through Appalachia, and ending in Louisiana. For much of this time I was accompanied by the novelist Jennifer Haigh.
You can follow my progress on Twitter and Instagram, and keep up-to-date with all the travellers using the hashtag #Outriders.