I have been a serious bike tourist for about 3 years. I have toured down the California coast, throughout Utah and England and just finished (last week!) my longest tour to date--Central California (Paso Robles) to Phoenix via San Diego (just over 800 miles).
I did a number of touring firsts:
Rode over a 4000+ ft pass
Rode for 9 days straight
Toured into another state
Rode over 800 miles on tour
Carried and used cooking equipment on tour
One of the questions Ihad about this tour was to see what it would be like to go cross country. I realize that 800 miles is not 3000, but I felt it was enough to get a feel for what a cross country tour would be like. I now know that I could go cross country if I put my mind to it and really wanted it.
However, spending a week riding through the California and Arizona deserts have convinced me that a lot of long distance bike touring involves repetitive and uninteresting scenary. I realize that southeast California and Arizona is not exactly representative of the entire US. Also, there is a tremendous allure to going from one coast to the other; the ultimate challenge, if you will.
However, it seems to me that a certain amount of any long distance tour will involve simply getting through an area that doesn't offer much either in support or interest. I am still very attracted to bike touring. I just want to quiet that voice within me that says that the ultimate tour is cross country. Instead, I want to discover wonderful places to tour between, so that as much time as possible is spent in that transcendant state of natural beauty travelled through on a bike.