« on: March 15, 2009, 11:37:22 pm »
You didn't say if you meant basically following an ACA route but breaking off occasionally OR a route you totally made up on your own. Nor do you give you r skills as topography and map reading. While I have not crossed the country itself without using ACA maps, I have done numerous regional or multi-state rides without them.
If #1, I would strongly consider using the ACA maps and use #2 when breaking off.
If #2, yes you can. It has been done probably thousands of times over the years. You can use basically any decent map but stick to the smaller roads when possible.
Typically, but not always, avoid the 4-lane divided highways unless a full shoulder exists. If possible, get a hold of a traffic count map from the state riding in and review it. Avoid roads over 2,500 vehicles/day when possible but obviously, this count increases closer to towns. Avoid major towns (bigger than 10k people) so that you avoid major traffic. Use google maps to help plan the route as you can sometimes zoom down to see the road as if you are standing there. This is useful in seeing the shoulder width. If a road is squiggly, it most likely hilly unless following a creek or river. Don't be afraid to ride a gravel road if need be (just have decent tires and go a little slower).
Go to Bikely.com; mapmyride.com; etc. and see if routes exist in the area you are looking to ride. View these routes with suspicion however as racer-types tend to not worry about traffic as much it seems. If you like a route, click on the author's name and see if s/he has other routes to get a feel for their riding style. These websites are really good for getting into and out of a bigger town/city.
Others have suggested CGOAB. You can search journals (which can give a map) for a particular state.
Finally, ask for help here for a specific state and you will most likely get help or suggestions. For instance, if you ask for the best route between LA & Vegas, I am sure you will get some decent suggestions from here and CGOAB.
The biggest problem I have been having recently is that a lot of the services (grocery, campgrounds, etc.) are drying up even in towns of 2,500 so supply stops are getting harder to find.
Overall, use common sense and stay away from bigger towns. Hope this helps and enjoy the adventure!!