I am just starting the planning for a solo midlife-crisis/career-burnout tour of the US starting sometime between Feb-May 2011. I'm torn between a coast-to-coast ride (I've always dreamed of a XC ride, and like the tidy end-to-end routes more than loops), and a route that takes me through the regions I'm most intrigued by. Ideally, I'd plan a route that did both, but I need to be realistic that my 43-year-old body isn't as resilient as it used to be.
Top on my priority list in the West are Yosemite, Bryce/Zion, Flagstaff, and Monument Valley, but because each of these would involve side trips off the Western Express, I'm not sure if it's realistic to include all of these and still go the rest of the way across the country. As for the East, I live in Vermont and would like to finish in the Northeast. But this would mean splitting off of the TA route and taking a longer UR/NT route towards New England rather than the shorter TA route to Virginia (where I used to live and am not all that interested in seeing again).
I'd like to make this more of a stop-and-smell-the-roses tour in which I stay flexible on the mileage and allow myself short or off days to see things I'm interested in. Time-wise, I have no hard deadlines, but would like to do it in under 4 months if possible.
I'd love to hear advice from anyone who's done a similar Southwest to Northeast route. Many thanks!