If you are planning to leave from home and go somewhere, over the next few weeks and months prior to your tour, go cycling, go exploring. Today, start at the end of your driveway and turn right ... at the next intersection, pick a direction. At the next intersection, pick a direction. Etc. Tomorrow, when you get to the end of your driveway as you set off on your ride, turn left .....
You can go a lot of interesting places without maps or route plans or any of that stuff. And that's exactly how I'd advise you start. Get to know as many roads as possible in your local area ... 50-100 km radius of where you live.
If you think you'd feel more comfortable with a map, pick one or two up from your local tourist information place. Your local tourist information place will also be a good source of information for campgrounds and all that sort of thing for when you're ready to do your overnight practice tours. And the tourist information place should have info on those bike paths you've noticed.
If you're going further away, places like CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) and I'm assuming AAA have maps and accommodation information for places throughout North America and other parts of the world. So do bookstores.
I like the idea of picking certain things I'd like to see or do along the way .... and then just winging it to get there.
Oh, and all you need for figuring out your directions is the sun and a compass.
Last edited by Machka; 01-17-09 at 03:11 PM.