The 7500FX belongs to the subtype "flat bar road bike." It's lightweight with 700c wheels a road bike, but has an upright seating posture like a hybrid. The gearing is intermediate, like a hybrid -- actually fairly well set up for touring.
The 2002 model I see on their website has fairly fat (700x35c) touring tires that would be suitable for pavement, gravel, dirt, and other such surfaces.
Not a bad bike if the upright posture is what you want. The biggest disadvantages to this sort of bike for touring are (a) that you're not very aerodynamic when you're sitting bolt upright, and this becomes an issue on long rides, and (b) these bikes can be fatiguing on long trips because there aren't enough different hand positions, and because they tend to put all your weight on the saddle.
But many people like them, even for touring and charity centuries and such, and that's why it's such a fast-growing category. This particular model seems to me a much better design than Trek's hybrids, with their unnecessary suspension forks and other dubious "comfort" features.
The alternative, as MikeW points out, is a real touring bike -- today's evolution of the sport/touring "10 speeds" you mention. Even more than the Trek 520, I'd point you toward the Bianchi Volpe (particularly), the Fuji Touring, the Cannondale T800, or the Novara 9REI) Randonee as road bikes designed to go comfortably for long distances.
I applaud your decision to treat yourself to a new bike; it's about the best present you can give yourself!