A short drive today, from my cabin in the woods, via the town of French Lick, to Louisville, Kentucky's largest city. The heavy rain overnight had flooded rivers, and many fields were under water. (I learned later that Washington County, through which I drove, had declared a state of emergency after flash floods hit several areas, including in Salem, the county seat. Elsewhere in the south and central United States, lightning storms and tornadoes had also caused severe damage.)
I passed through small, rundown towns and farming communities. Here and there, signs warned drivers to look out for horse-drawn buggies (a few Old Order Amish live in this area). All of these little places felt very remote indeed from Louisville, just across the state line – a prosperous and liberal city in a mostly poor, mostly conservative region.
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.