Stephen begins his epic 2000-mile journey up the Mississippi in the sultry, voodoo soaked streets of New Orleans during its busiest day of the year - Mardi Gras.
He meets a Jewish Voodoo priestess, an Iraqi war veteran experiencing flashbacks in the abandoned neighbourhoods destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, down-and-outs not living the American Dream, and takes a tour through Angola, one of America's most notorious prisons.
In the Delta he gets the Blues with actor Morgan Freeman at his club in Clarksdale and in Chicago drives guitar legend Buddy Guy round his old stomping grounds on the South Side. Forsaking calmness at the Transcendental Meditation HQ in Iowa he travels to Motown, Detroit, where he gets to drive in a Model T and the latest Cadillac with its designer before enjoying the rustic beauty of an Amish farm and learning how to milk a sheep in Wisconsin.
At the river's source in Minnesota he learns how the Hmong refugees, so far from their opium growing villages in Laos, are adapting to the snowy wastes before catching his first fish in forty years on the frozen Lake Minnetonka.