Justine Shapiro kicks off our Round the World journey with a road trip across the US following in the footsteps of the American dream.
She begins her journey in the historic river port of Lynchburg, Virginia, where she takes an old tobacco boat along the James River. These boats were used to explore inland America before there were roads.
From the river Justine hops into a car and heads up into the mountains to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a historic scenic drive that stretches 469 miles along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, from Virginia to North Carolina. Her destinations are the Arkansas cities of Nashville and Memphis, birthplaces of American country and soul.
In Nashville, Justine tours the famous country music sites with the amusing guides of Nash Trash Tours. She then visits the old plantation home of American President, Andrew Jackson. A complicated man, Jackson was known as the first ‘’common man’s President’’, but was also a slave owner. A war hero, who won the Battle of New Orleans at the end of 1812, he was the last President to pay off the US national debt, back in 1835.
In Memphis, Justine visits the National Civil Rights Museum, located at the Lorraine Hotel, the site where Martin Luther King Junior was brutally assassinated in 1968. After attending Memphis’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest on the banks of the Mississippi River, and touring the city’s blues clubs, she drops in on Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, now a shrine to The King and also checks out his famous car and personal aircraft collections.
Heading into Arkansas, Justine joins a memorial walk to commemorate a dark chapter in the history of the Choctaw Nation, known as the Trail of Tears. In the 1830’s the Choctaw were one of native American tribes who were brutally relocated from their homelands by the American Government to what was then the wide open spaces of Oklahoma Territory.
From Arkansas to Oklahoma, Justine hits the legendary Mother Road: Route 66, the route travelled by hundreds of thousands of Americans as they sought a better life and moved west after the Great Depression. She stops at a giant cattle auction in Oklahoma City and crosses the Texas Pan-handle before finishing her journey in Arizona at the world’s best preserved Meteor Crater.
Places Mentioned - USAShare the series