A few friends and I are planning a 2011 coast to coast cycling trip. We plan to start in June and take about two months. We're going to start somewhere on the Atlantic and end somewhere on the Pacific but specific start and end cities have not been established. So truly we may not be on the Trans America trail the entire time. We we're thinking about Boston, New York, possibly DC to Los Angeles, Portland, OR, etc. but really I just want to find the best route (both start and end points and possible cool destinations along the way). I'm sure we'll stay in a motel every once in a while but mostly we're planning on camping most nights.
Here are some of my main concerns and questions:
-Safety (traffic, width of shoulders, bike lanes, etc.)
-Fun destinations along the way
-Resources (Food resupply, gear resupply)
Adventure Cycling has done the work for you on Safety and Resources; +1 for following one of their routes. Roads with little traffic, excellent listings of resources by town/hamlet. I don't know that I'd tie myself down to TransAm, as we had a great time on the Northern Tier. Some of the best times you'll have will be talking with other cyclists, especially at campgrouds; and the AC routes tend to concentrate other cyclists so you'l have more to talk with.
Best scenery on TA was between Pueblo and Missoula, second best was Blue Ridge Parkway (which you could ride further SW) to a bit beyond Breaks. NT was spectacular from Sedro-Wooley to Glacier, and there's some nice scenery in New England. I'd like to ride the Grand Canyon Connector east on the Western Express to Pueblo, too.
-What are the best start and end cities and why?
-What are some great destinations, not too far out of the way?
-Are there any places I'll have to worry about not finding a good camp or stealth-camp spot?
-Feel free to throw any other advice at me.
What cities do you want to see? Note it'll take a day or two to get across the larger cities. Camping and especially stealth camping could be tough in the suburbs. Check out warmshowers for alternates.
What do you want to visit? There was an AC article a couple years ago about a guy who wanted to bicycle to a home game in every major league baseball park in one season. Or Cooky's Cafe in Golden, MO offers good food and great pies.
Pick some cities and take off. Choose NT, TA, ST, or TA plus your choice of WE or L&C. TA+WE might be the shortest, if you really can't stretch your two month time off.
So decide to go now. This winter pick a route, next spring prepare, and have a great ride in the summer!