As for money, don't east coast banks have networks of branches up and down the coast
Ahhh, I now see you are doing the TransAm. Awesome!
I have made most of my purchases at REI because the lifetime guarantee is priceless. If for any reason I run into any problem with the equipment, I can stop at any REI and the problem is fixed. That to me is comforting
Well done. Although, REI has a big Spring camping sale every year, so I think if you had waited a little longer to buy your stuff, you could have gotten it all on sale. Typically, you get a 20% off coupon for one non-sale item, and then a lot of camping stuff is on sale. With an REI credit card, you even get another 5% back at the end of the year. Come to think of it, if anything you bought is discounted at the Spring sale, instead of returning the pieces of your gear that are now on sale(remember you can return the gear for any reason), and then rebuying the sale items at the discounted price, REI will simply credit you with the difference in prices. Do take advantage of that.
The research and study continue and the next phase of preparation is getting real specific with my route planning. I'd rather not just follow a pre-determined map without studying the route myself. I may decide to use parts of the ACA maps, but nevertheless I will still map it out and learn the campgrounds, parks...etc. I'm giving myself a month to get that figured out. It may be a bit of overkill, but overkill for me is good.
Just so you know, no pre-planning is necessary. Typically, the night before you will look at your ACA maps and decide which town and campground to shoot for—based on mileage and terrain(see the terrain graphs on your maps). You may make it; or mechanicals, flats, or weather may cause you to come up short, and you end up staying elsewhere. That night you plan for the next days ride.
If you try to plan the whole trip ahead of time, then the first time you can’t stick to plan, the rest of the plan is out the window.
I changed my whole route 3 days before I left on my first tour, and I had the ACA overnight me the maps. I briefly looked at the first map the night before, and then I was out the door the next morning to begin a 3,500 mile tour.
A tip: some TA people overlapped with me on part of my route last summer, and this is what happened to them: Starting out, it was so sweltering hot in the East that they sent all their warm clothes home. Then when they got to the higher elevations in the West, they were cold, so they found some thrift stores and bought sweatshirts and sweatpants.
I Love this tent. What sold me on it was its light weight, 2 doors, and a mesh top for viewing the stars or sharing the breeze.
If it's hot, you are going to wish the mesh extended all the way down to the floor. You won't get any breeze on you with those sidewalls. In the heat, you want a tent like this:http://www.rei.com/product/811248/sierra-designs-lightning-ht-2-tent
Nice bike! The black beauty. If you want to keep the top tube from getting scratched/dented by the bar end shifters, you need to duck tape(black duck tape!) some foam padding around the top tube where the bar end shifters hit (or buy a top tube protector).
You are going to have a great adventure! Good luck.