I put together a thread in the charity forum(read it here) describing a trip I'm trying to put together. With that plan in mind, I would like to get as much information, anecdotal and expert, as I can regarding equipment and route planning for a cross country tour of the US. I don't quite know what questions to ask so I guess if people can just start firing opinions away at their leisure it would give me a jumping off point.
Currently I only have a mountain bike that I am doing daily rides on, so I'll need something more appropriate for distance. My budget is limited and being new to road bikes and touring I'm not sure what to look for.
I would like to travel light, I'm no stranger to hitchhiking with a sleeping bag and a bivy-sack so I don't know if a trailer is necessary or if I can get away with some type of saddle-bag system.
Route planning: I am currently in North Carolina(though I could leave from Southern Maine, just over the border from NH, as well since I have family and friends there too) and my destination is Santa Barbara, California. I've heard of something called bikecentennial? I did a search for it on google and found a webpage that sold maps but they were more localized rather then in atlas form. It didn't seem to be much help unless you knew specifics waypoints already...
Please also share any other sage advice you might have!