My wife and I have a trip planned to visit family in Baltimore, MD on May 7th and I just talked her into letting me ride my bike from our home in Clearwater, FL to meet her their on the 7th.
1. very short notice...only 17 days away. I'd have to leave on the 27th of April to allow enough time to make the trip.
2. No previous experience with a long distance trip like this although I am in very good physical shape from running and cycling on a regular basis.
3. I want to travel lite but have no idea what to and what not to pack. I planned on adding just a set of rear panniers and a front handlebar bag to my bike.
4. My bike is not a touring model. It's a Scott S20 Speedster which is more of a aggressive road setup.
5. Safe routes. What is the best way to find a safe route along the way?
10 days riding. Its about 1000 miles between Clearwater and Baltimore. Doable.
No experience necessary. Just ride your bike every day.
Traveling light. Two pair shorts, one jersey. Maybe a t-shirt and shorts for when you are done riding. Biking sandals ans SPD pedals so no need for extra shoes. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Any medicine you use. You will stay in motels every night. So they provide soap and shampoo and towels. Eat in restaurants or convenience stores.
Adventure Cycling has an Atlantic Coast route map. I suspect it would get you most of the way along the eastern seaboard. Already mapped for you. Check where the towns are to be sure you can ride between towns that have motels. Check the map to see what kind of hills or moutains are on it. I think they talk about those things on the maps they sell. See if the hills warrant you changing the gearing on your bike. If so its easy to get a cassette with bigger cogs and a compact crankset. Your racing bike will handle a 27-28-30-32 rear cog and 50/34 crankset with no other changes. Except chain may need to be longer. Front derailleur lowered. If you're feeling like spending money you could get a long cage rear derailleur for fun too. Not needed though.