I am currently in El Paso, Texas, on my way from San Francisco to Vermont via parts of the Southern Tier, Natchez Trace and Blue Ridge Parkway. I need to get home (Hyde Park VT) by June 10th to graduate from high school, so my route can't be too winding. I will be following the Southern Tier until Deridder, LA, then heading North on US 171 North to Leesville and SR 28 and US 84 East to Natchez, MS where I will join the Natchez Trace Parkway (a connecting route I found on the forum). I want to take the Natchez Trace until Jackson, or maybe Tupelo, but if it is possible to bike through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham AL on a more direct route to Asheville NC, I would prefer to do that, as I don't have much time. From Asheville, I will take the Blue Ridge and Skyline Drive all the way to Fort Royal.
From there, I would like to get to New Haven Connecticut to take the Farmington Canal Trail to Northampton. Does anyone know this trail? It seems like a pretty direct route, though it doesn't sound like it is all paved and that could be problematic. I am on a surly disc trucker with medium sized tires, and biking on dirt or gravel would not work because I need to move quickly. None of the ACA routes go where I want to for this section, and I don't have the luxury of time, so I really need to take the fastest route that is still bicycle friendly. I can deal with heavy traffic as long as there is a shoulder, though I prefer secondary paved roads even if they don't have a shoulder. It is hard to tell which roads are safe to ride from AAA and Google maps which are my main resources. Bike routes are great, but they are often out of the way.
The one thing is, I really want to bike the whole length of Vermont, as it is my home and I love it, so I will have to further East which means more congestion. It seems like going through Philadelphia and New York would be totally crazy, am I right? So far, I have been stealth camping and staying with Warm Showers the whole way, I can't afford to stay at motels or campgrounds, and I am worried that it will be difficult to find places to camp as I go further east because it is so populated. Can anyone speak to this?
I am comfortable biking 60-90 mile days, though I will need to take some rest days along the way and there's no saying what kind of injuries I will run into. So it's a bit of a long shot to try to get all the way home by June 10th, but I think it is possible if I can figure out a safe, relatively direct route. What do you think?