The Great American Road Trip

3rd November 2022

The Great American Road Trip

If you’re planning to create your absolutely perfect road trip across the United States of America, the best tip I can give you would be to break it down, USA is a massive country with a lot to offer, fortunately, the country has already been broken down for you, take each part of your road trip state by state.

First, pick your starting location, then your ending, then look at the individual states along the way, it makes what will be an adventure of a lifetime, that little less daunting and stressful to plan if you take it step by step, or state by state.

For our outlandish, glorious, marvelous and bubbly road trip, we’re starting in Florida and making our way to California, with our final destination being the Chateau Beaux Hauts, Lower Lake, California.

Our purposed journey will take us through the following awesome States of America.

  • Florida
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona
  • Utah
  • Nevada
  • California


Day 1

Landing at Miami International Airport. we hire our dream car and start our Journey across America.

We don’t want to be driving too much on the first day, we need to start getting used to the time zone, so we travel just over an hour up to the wonderful West Palm Beach and spend our evening settling into our hotel room and taking it all in, exploring the sandy beaches and vibrant life.

Day 2

Depending on how long you want to stay to get used to the Eastern Daylight Time Zone, we get back in our car and drive up the coast until we turn inland to Orlando.

Not missing the chance to explore the famous Universal Studios Florida, venturing onto the set of your favourite movie, or take a thrilling ride through your most loved films.

After staying until the very last possible minute, you still have a bit more driving in you for the day, so you drive about an hour and a half across to Crystal River, Florida, where explore and spend the night.

Day 3

In the morning you drive three hours up to Tallahassee, which takes about three hours, once we enter Tallahassee we spend some time exploring their natural wonders, unique architecture, local shops and hospitality.


Day 4

Then you spent the next 3 and half hours driving across the top of Florida until you enter Alabama to see the incredible USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, along with taking a good look on the inside.

After you’ve finished exploring the Battleship, you travel 3 and half more hours and arrive in Jackson Mississippi, where you find a lovely place to eat, and a place to rest your head ready for tomorrow.

Day 5

As the sun rises, so do you, a long day of exploring Jackson Mississippi awaits, you can take part in some Scavenger games set up around the city, explore their shops, museums of natural history, civil rights or Mississippi children’s museum.

Day 6

You hit the ground running, or should I say put the pedal to the metal, as you travel up into Arkansas.


Once in Arkansas, you don’t stop until you reach Little Rock, which is a 4-hour drive, getting there slightly after lunch, you find a nice little place to refuel yourself and your car, I assume you’re both on two different meal plans. You could try Whole Hog Cafe to refuel yourself, with traditional Southern cuisine.

While in the city you try out one of their Metro Streetcars, browse their River Market, take a Historic Homes Driving Tour and then explore their very charming Mill, which is called The Old Mill, it is featured in the opening of Gone with the Wind in 1939.

Day 7

After spending the night in Little Rock, you pack up your bags and drive into Oklahoma.


We spend 5 hours heading into Oklahoma City, stopping off along the way at anything that piqued your interest.

Just take the rest of the day to relax and slowly explore the city, its sights, the shops, restaurants, bars and everything else that Oklahoma City has to offer, like their Myriad Botanical Gardens, National Memorial, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Museum of Art, A Dodgers Game, Oklahoma History Center or Frontier City Theme Park.

We’ll spend the night and move on in the morning for an exciting day of watery fun.

Day 8

In the morning you set off to Woodward, to visit their Crystal Beach Water Park, which is just a two-hour drive, enjoying the sun, water and slides all day, we’ll continue our road trip tomorrow.


Day 9

Dipping into Texas, we travel 3 hours to a very artistic display at Cadillac Ranch, spending some time taking it all in, you set off into New Mexico

New Mexico

Driving for another 4 hours we reach the city of Albuquerque in New Mexico, let’s just rewind after a long time on the road and prepare for tomorrow’s activities.

Day 10

In the morning, you see that the city of Albuquerque has a lot to show you and if you want to truly appreciate and take in everything, you won’t be able to do it all in one day, so either plan a couple of days or pick what you’ll enjoy most, out of the many options are the Sandia Peak Tramway, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Paseo del Bosque, Sandia Peak Ski Resort, Unser Racing Museum, Rio Grande Nature Center State Park.

It’s a bit too late to set off tonight, so, stay another evening and begin again in the morning.

Day 11

Heading to Gallup, New Mexico, it takes two hours on the road, there we can experience a real-life Rodeo.

Afterward, you set off into Arizona.


Our next destination is just over a 4-hour drive up to the top of Arizona to see the very picturesque Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon.

Then just over another 4 hour drive you make your way to the world-famous city in the desert, Las Vegas, which is where we’ll spend the night.


We’re not stopping, just passing through, our road from the Canyon to Las Vegas takes us up into Utah, allowing you to use a couple of their roads before hitting Nevada.


Seeing the shining lights, lose a dollar or two in the casinos and dine in some very fancy restaurants / drink a few cocktails in their gorgeous bars.

Day 12

Make sure you visit by driving or walking down the Las Vegas Strip and if you happen to time your trip perfectly, you might even see the first Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Continuing on, for a 3-hour drive, you can see Death Valley National Park, in the state of California.



We’ve made it to California, it’s been one hell of a journey, but we’re not done yet, we’ve still got a bit to explore before hitting our final destination.

We can’t really visit California without discovering Hollywood, although it is a 4 hours in the wrong direction, it will be worth it, as we can take another route back up.

While in Hollywood, why don’t you check out the Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Paramount Studios, Sunset Ranch, Griffith Observatory, Egyptian Theatre, and, of course, The Hollywood Sign.

Day 13

After you’ve finished exploring Hollywood, it’s time to make our way up California, heading towards the coast to check out one of California’s beaches, Santa Barbara, just a two-hour drive.

Then the same day travel up to Santa Maria, which is just an hour more in the car, where you can spend the night ready for tomorrow.

Day 14

It’s time to visit San Jose, a 4 hour drive, and our last stop-off point before hitting our final destination, this wonderful place has a lot to see and do, including the Winchester Mystery House, San Jose Flea Market, Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Japantown and Santana Row.

One more night’s sleep and tomorrow we’ll finish our American Road Trip.

Day 15

Now it’s time to visit the winery that produced and bottled this 2010 vintage Sparkling Wine, we drive for a final 3 hours to Chateau Beaux Hauts, Lower Lake, California to meet the Winemakers and taste with them their amazing Sparkling Wine creation.

En Tirage

Aged for 11 years before being disgorged, this En Tirage 2010 Reserve Cuvée American Sparkling Wine was made using the Traditional Methode, Blanc de Blancs (White of Whites), and it’s an Extra Brut.

It’s not often that we get to enjoy Californian Sparkling Wine and if we do, we sometimes go in with the stigma that Californian or even American Wine can be on the cheaper side, as it is often portrayed as mass produced and sold at ridiculously cheap prices, that mindset, sometimes, sadly does carry over to America’s Sparkling Wines.

So, unfortunately, this is something that has to be said: “America produces some amazing Sparkling Wines, and they put just as much effort and commitment into the craft as everyone else, with this bottle taking 11 years to perfect.” – Oliver Walkey

Here is the story of Don and Kay Baumhefner and their journey into the world of Sparkling Wine in America, told by Don Baumhefner, with the questions asked by myself.

‘What inspired you to age your Sparkling Wines for such a long period of time?’

“I started making sparkling wines in 1983 while working for Joseph Swan in Forestville. He had just come back from a trip to Burgundy with Kermit Lynch to visit Dujac and other friends.”

“Joe was upset because I had not been rigorous enough in my thinning of the bunches of Pinot Noir on the vines while he was away. It was nearing harvest time, but that did not stop him from going down every row in the vineyard and cutting off every bunch that he thought was not ripening quickly enough.”

“His goal was both to decrease the crop level (as he saw them doing in Burgundy) and to ensure that all the other grapes would fully ripen in time. As he did so, I followed and picked up all the bunches that I thought would be good enough to make some bubbly for myself at home.”

“I was quite happy with the result (and I do have several bottles left en tirage from that 1983 vintage). So I tried it again the next vintage with some second crop Pinot Meunier from a friend’s vineyard. The result was even more satisfying than the previous vintage. So in 1988 when that friend, Bob Hopkins, had an extra five tons of Pinot Meunier he said, “So do you want to make a commercial lot of sparkling Pinot Meunier?” I jumped at the chance. It was quite a worthy effort and received a nice response from some restaurants and stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. So we continued doing it in 1989, 90, 91, and 92.”

“I disgorged the 1988 after only two years on the yeast just because that is what everybody else was doing. I then did the 1989 after three years and liked it even better, naturally. Then I let the 90 stay in the yeast and did the 91 after four years and liked it even better. So I left the 90 and 92 to keep aging because I thought that they were even better vintages and would be worthy of the extended aging.”

“Though I did keep close track of their progress by opening a bottle of each about every month while they aged. In 2010 I finally decided to disgorge both the 1990 and the 1992.” – Don Baumhefner

‘As a Winemaker, is it painful to keep your creations aging for so long before sharing them with the public?’

“Keep in mind that the quantities involved were less than 300 cases of each vintage. I knew that it was never going to be a big money maker so I was able to keep them on the yeast until I thought that they were really at their absolute peak of potential. By the way, I just sold my last few cases of the 1990 to my Danish importer, twelve years after disgorging. The extra aging after disgorging also helped its flavor profile.”

“Most of the 1992 was purchased by Berry Brothers after they saw the video of Michael Broadbent while his son Bartholomew filmed him tasting it saying, “It tastes like a Bollinger, like a Bollinger RD” It is a fun video that you can see on the En Tirage website when you have the time. Even before he tasted it, my favorite bubbly was and still is Bollinger RD.” – Don Baumhefner

Don Baumhefner also provided the following words, which he felt would provide some insight into his 2010 En Tirage Sparkling Wine, including the final sentence, which he was kind enough to share.

“With the 2010 En Tirage Blanc de Blancs, I released the first half of it after six years on the yeast but held back half of it (400 cases) for further aging. The Reserve Cuvee that I sent to you was just disgorged this year after eleven years aging. I feel that the extra five years has made a significant difference. That difference is evident even when first opened, but becomes even more delicious as it opens up and warms in the glass. I sincerely feel that the flavors that I love in this wine are at their best after a few minutes of airing and warming in the glass. I have also enjoyed them from a half full bottle the next day. I hope you have or will soon be able to experience this development in the glass for yourself.”

“This is my swan song in the sense that I have no more wines en tirage for further release” – Don Baumhefner

En Tirage – 2010 Reserve Cuvée -Tasting Notes:

Aroma – “A pale golden colour with aromas of baked apple, butter croissant and lemon curd giving the feeling of walking through a bakery.”

Flavour – “The taste is silky and creamy with a good long length of flavours to include yellow fruits (including citrus), toast, brioche and hints of honey.”

Before We End Our Trip To America

Our time on the road would have amounted to 59 hours over 15 days, traveling through 11 states, experiencing countless unforgettable things and seeing sights that just wouldn’t have hit the same on a screen.

I hope you enjoyed our proposed venture, even if you just looked at the pictures and perhaps, you discovered a new American Sparkling Wine that you’ll enjoy, so all that’s left to say is, “Until Next Time, Enjoy The Fizz!”


Image Credit: America – Horseshoe Bend Slot CanyonCaliforniaTexasFloridaNew MexicoLas VegasUSS Alabama BattleshipOklahoma

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.