We go to ‘Cooters’ – the official Dukes of Hazzard museum.

Across Tennessee. By Kia.

“Your mother will explain,” I tell the Toddler, as I leap down from the Kia.

“Googoogoogoogoothemdukesthemdooookes,” I add.

‘Cooters’ – the official Dukes of Hazzard museum is probably the best tourist attraction in all America. It has a full-size General Lee, and a full-size Daisy Duke jeep, and a full-size Cooter pick-up, and a full-size Hazzard County police car. You can sit in them all for ten dollars, in order to have your picture taken, or just stand beside them for free, which is what I doCooters.

“GoogoogooooFlash!googoohotpursuithotpursuit!” I say, as I am standing beside the police car.

There are all sorts of original scripts, and publicity posters, and life-size cut-outs of the cast. It really is a most educational resource. I am a bit disturbed, however, that there is no mention at all of Coy and Vance, who were the cousins of the original Duke boys who took over for a couple of series, suspiciously looking and acting exactly like the two original actors. Coy and Vance weren’t very good, but they do not deserve to be treated this way. They have been completely written out of history, like stunt-driving, moonshine-running Iain Duncan Smiths.

I stand for ages, viewing the historical artifacts and doing good impressions of Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (played by James Best).

“Can we go now?” asks the LTLP.

She is still a bit cross about me accidentally buying a bottle of wine for $70, because I am not much good at working out money even when it is English. But she has a point. We still have the Gibson guitar factory to visit, and time is getting on.

The famous ’01’ car with the welded-shut doors is parked outside. I allow one last longing look before climbing into the Kia.

It’s time to go.

We go to Chattanooga.

Across Tennessee. By Kia.

“It’s a train carriage!!!” I reveal in delight.

We look around our accommodation which is, indeed, a train carriage. I have always been very interested in railway history, and I can’t think of anything much better than staying in a real live train carriage, especially in Chattanooga, which has a long-established relationship with the choo-choo.

“Just like I showed you on the ‘what we are going to do on our holidays’ PowerPoint presentation,” I add.

The LTLP gives me a Look.

“And our itinerary for the day…” I leave a short teasing pause, like they do on the reality shows, “the International Tow Truck Museum and Hall of Fame!”

I pull out a leaflet. “It has loads of tow trucks on display,” I explain.

We have a short chat about the direction that our holiday is taking.

“There is also a special wall, where they commemorate the people who have lost their lives in the course of vehicle recovery,” I urge. “The Toddler will really be moved by it.”

We do not go to the International Tow Truck Museum and Hall of Fame.

Later on, we are walking around some enormous natural caves, featuring giant floodlit montages of dozens upon dozens of nursery rhymes and childrens’ stories. The Toddler pretends to be excited and delighted, so as not to make us feel bad. But I am sorry that she has missed her chance to see the vintage tow trucks.

It is a shame. But the following day we plan to go to Nashville. It is a challenge to find tourist attractions that are suitable for the whole family, but I know that there is one there that everybody will love.

We dine at the historic original Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

Across Tennessee. By Kia.

“Three hundred miles?!?” says the LTLP.

“Chill out. It will be worth the journey, for food like this,” I reply.

“Three hundred miles?!?!?!?”

“I will go in ahead, and see if I can get a table.”

It is amazing being in such a historic place from the dawn of the universe of food. Colonel Sanders’ original restaurant is like a Stonehenge for the peckish man. I stride in, feeling the aura, soaking in the atmosphere of this place; the convergence of hundreds of strands of catering, of thousands of carefully-breaded ley lines.

“What would you like?” enquires the lady behind the counter (I assume she is Colonel Sanders’ great great granddaughter or something, but I do not like to ask.)

I order some chicken. She asks me if I would like a side order with it, and I choose a side order. She asks me what I would like to drink, and I choose my drink. I then go to collect some serviettes and a straw.

Truly, it is a unique experience.

“Three hundred miles?!?!???!” chants the LTLP as we begin the drive to our next destination back in Tennessee.

But I do not care. I am happy. I have a belly full of chicken, and a photograph of the Toddler sitting on a bench next to a life-size fibreglass model of Colonel Sanders.

“Could we perhaps do some normal holiday things now?” she asks.

I smile. I have some really good plans coming up, that she will really love.

I take the LTLP to a posh restaurant, bowling her over with my extravagance.

Across Tennessee. By Kia.

As all food critics know, sometimes it is worth doing a big round trip for the sake of a good meal.

I gun the Kia into life, the massive supercharged beast under the hood exploding in a throaty roar. We pootle off at a steady 40mph, heading out on the highway, looking for adventure and whatever comes our way – in this case being a gastronomic experience that Jay Rayner, Michael Winner etc would die for.

The USA is a bit funny about food. Its restaurants are about a grillion times better than ours in every respect, if you are looking for any type of unpretentious family dining experience, preferably including steak, chicken or ribs. But they have this bizarre concept called ‘fine dining’, which essentially means ‘anything not steak, chicken or ribs – but could be steak, chicken or ribs, just cooked by a chef with a name.’ The idea that adding some broccoli means that a restaurant is now ‘fine dining’ is not a concept that I’ve got to grips with yet.

But it is time that I showed the LTLP some culinary flair. We head north and cross the state line.

I am a bit disappointed in the state line. I know about the state line from the Dukes of Hazzard, and as far as I was concerned it was this sort of magical thing that made you invulnerable once you crossed it. You could do a bank robbery and blow up the sheriff and insult his dog, but as long as you got across the state line in a car chase accompanied by banjo music before he caught you, you could basically just stand there and blow raspberries and there was nothing that he could do about it except go ‘gooogeeegooogoothemdukesthemduuukes.’

There is just a small sign as you enter Kentucky. I thought they would have made a bit more of it.

As we leave the big interstate road and head across country, the area becomes more poor and run down, sometimes quite depressingly so. The rural poor are a forgotten people. We pass old derelict shacks and abandoned cars. ‘TV is the Gateway to Hell’ informs a sign outside the local church, reassuringly.

“Wasn’t that the motel?” asks the LTLP, as we speed past a motelly-looking building.

“Ooops,” I say. “I’ll turn round. Didn’t it seem to have a couple of broken windows? Or was that just me?”

I turn the car around and we retrace our steps.

“Yes. It has broken windows. And somebody has set it on fire,” I confirm.

We head off to a different motel.

I hope Mr Obama is able to help rural America a bit, as the people – especially in the South – are just so damn nice. I chat to the man in the gas station, who switches the pump on especially for me, as I am English. I chat to the lady in the news store, who sells me a copy of ‘Backwoods Home’ magazine as a gift for Mrs Short Tony, and ‘People Waving Guns About Monthly’ for Short Tony. I chat to the girl at the motel desk, who confirms that business has picked up immensely since the other one mysteriously burnt down.

We eat simply, and get an early night. Tomorrow will be the culmination of our 300-mile round-trip for lunch.

Continued tomorrow…