We weren't against a deadline and did that section in 12 days, so it should be doable with a little time to spare.Are you sure you counted right Pete? I just took a look at your journal, and you left Sebree (25 miles west of Utica) on August 8 and arrived in Yorktown on August 22. Isn't that 15 days? Jacob seems to have 13 days available to do the same distance (less 25 miles). I do agree with you that it should be possible to do it in 13 days if he can do about 75 miles a day.
Anyway, my general advice is that changing the route is risky. Be sure to find roads with good shoulders if you do, because changing the route will almost certainly result in higher traffic, and on high-traffic roads, you're going to want a shoulder. MY preference, however, would be to stick to the route and up your daily mileage.