2 A great deal of enviousness towards me: An ACA tour has typically a strict mileage, which means that the group will arrive in towns, places on the exact dates as planned. Some group members count on this precision and make arrangements with friends/family/relatives along the route. So these people (maybe 1-2 persons of a group) expect to be at a certain location at a certain time - which is nice for them. For instance it could be on the planned rest days. But the weather plays a big role when biking: If the group has a 30 mi day, but the day turns out to be blessed with a strong tailwind making it possible to do 120 mi that very day - it will be very frustrating not being able to go further. Contrary, if the weather turns bad and annoying, the group HAS to move on where other cyclist would have a rest day.
On our NT tour, we had a drop-dead finish date. ACA provided a very rough, suggested itinerary that included rest days in towns with relatively good services and/or interesting things to do. The rest days also corresponded to days when post offices would be open so people could plan general delivery mail. We would plan out weekly schedules keeping in mind the drop dead finish date, terrain, etc.
Two related factors affected daily mileage, especially in the mountainous/hilly parts of the route. First, you have the availability of campgrounds. In some instances, you had a choice of a moderate day or an extremely long, difficult day. A factor that affected choice was the ability range within the group. We had members for whom a hard, 100 miles was very difficult. You have to take that into account. That sort of compromise comes with the territory. I distinctly remember a difference of opinion while riding across the relatively flat High Line in Montana. Once or twice we had the option of something like a 40 mile day or an 80 mile day. With the typical tailwinds we had been experiencing, 40 miles was a snap. There were people who were in favor of the shorter days for various reasons, including the desire to "rest." Others felt it was a bit of a waste to pack up just to have to make camp again after such a short day.
Same thing with the choice of the type of camping. I think I mentioned that a few in our group would have rarther spent more nights in more rustic campgrounds, such as U.S.F.S. campgrounds. But many in our group were more on the "high maintenance" side, if you will, preferring private campgrounds with showers and such if there was a choice. Again, this is a compromise you have to accept if you sign up with a group tour. Unless things have changed, you can take what is called a "side trip" and rejoin the group a few days later. In such an instance, you were on your own financially.
Several people in our group took side trips for varying reasons. One notable one was in Waterton Village. We "lost" a day in Glacier National Park waiting for Logan Pass to open. We were supposed to have a rest day in Waterton Village two days later but ended up cancelling it based on majority rule. One group member wanted to do some hiking out of Waterton so he stayed behind when we moved on to MacGrath the following day. To catch up to us in Cut Bank, MT, our next stop after MacGrath, he ahd to pull a hard, 120+ mile day.