And you never know who you might click with. I was 34 at the time. My best good friend during the trip turned out to be someone who was 60.
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Several of you mention "local mom and pop diner" - What is that?
Small, locally owned and operated diners are often operated by the owners' family, thus known generically as "Mom and Pop Diner." They know and are known by the locals, who often will go there for a regular cup of coffee, sometimes a breakfast, every morning.
At Madison campground the hiker/bikers get to camp in a nice grassy area right behind the office (and it's a well-kept secret that the ladies gave us access to their coffee pot in the morning)!
As a 20-plus year environmental historian in the northern Rockies who has been bicycle touring since 1984 - methinks your worries are misplaced. Prudence dictates that a person from the East Coast or Europe who shows little awareness of the climate or remoteness of the Intermountain West might benefit from a few cautionary posts. In contrast, a person who worries every detail usually benefits from a little humor and upbeat encouragement. YMMV.
You will actually join up with the NT at the junction of 200 and 56. Bull River Campground just south of the junction was nice.I camped at the Bull River Campground last summer. It was nice enough, but primitive. No electricity, no showers. For just $2 more, I could have stayed at the RV park right at the junction of 200 and 56. It has all the amenities and it doesn't require you to go down and back up the big hill to Bull River. I made the wrong call.
I've made a lot of meals with the same items while car camping before, but then you have a big duffel bag full of camp gear with you and things like a bottle of dish soap and all utensils are no big deal.
For stove I do have an MSR DragonFly (can run on unleaded) and was planning on also making a soda can stove, so the two combined might be good for cooking and water.