Wow! What a post. Here's what I'm looking to do, and it sounds like you're just the person to help me.
Background: My wife and I have done Ragbrai, and a couple of very short loaded tours. We've also done a century, and done a bit of CO and UT mountain biking. Also did the San Juan Hut Tour if you've heard of it (Hut-to-hut from Telluride to Moab) So we're not regular, not hard-core, but above the average recreational cyclist.
Current: My wife (age 29) is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. She wants to do something "big" when her treatment is done. We had thought in the past (pre-cancer) of doing a x-country ride. Time off for work doesn't allow for that, so we thought border to border could be done in 40 days +/- including rest days.
That said, we're looking for the "path of least resistance" from A. to B. Least resistance includes terrain (she may not be at 100% this summer, but due to my job, it has to be this summer), traffic and logistics (flights to airports near Mexican border and from Canada). I'm willing to alter this whole idea so long as Glacier N.P., Teton N.P. and Yellowstone are still included
NEW MEXICO: The easiest starting point seems to be El Paso. Cheap flights from Midway on Southwest and it's right on the border. That would take us through Santa Fe and Taos, which sound like interesting stops. A lot of it would follow old highways and frontage along I-25, but again, it looks to be the ewasiest in terms of climbing and finsing services while we get our feet wet.
COLORADO: I'm not particular about a route through Colorado. Been all the way across Colorado on US40, US50, and I70. Done all the major stops, except Great Sand Dunes and Mesa Verde. But may see Mesa Verde in the future on a Durango to Moab hut tour. My idea was to hit the Dunes from Taos, and then connect up with the Great Parks Route, open to alternatives that don't add time. Seems to be an "easy" direct route as far as climbing goes through the front range.
WYOMING: Just intended to follow the AC route. At least with the AC maps I'll have an idea of services to be found ahead. Not married to the route though if there's an easier alternative.
MONTANA: Again, just planned to follow the AC route to make sure I could find services, plus I think it's be neat to pop into the AC office in Missoula.
CANADA: Would like to go from Glacier to Waterton, then up to Pincher Creek. At Pincher Creek, ship the bikes home, take the bus to Calgary, rent a car there and explore Banff & Jasper before flying home.
Open to comments or suggestions and appreciative of them.