Been wanting to do this trip for several years now, and it looks like I can finaly make time this summer. Talked to some of the people involved in the routes development(very nice people they were)and have researched it as much as possible on the web, which is not as much as one would think. I got the guide book that was written a few years ago, and while it is a couple years old it is really well written and the author has current updates on his website. I was informed that an updated version of the book is planned.
I was told that about twenty people a year get a certificate of completion from the MRT organization. Not a lot, really. And thats one of the things that makes this route seem neat to me. I lived in Pittsburg KS on the transam and saw that many in a week at times. So this route is still sort of unsung, though the few travelouges that I found seemed to think favorably of it. Did some of the trail thru Illinois and Missouri myself a few years ago, and it was pretty nice, despite being late winter, rainy and windy. I managed to keep on it with only the most basic que card for three hundred miles of that trip, so with the guide it should be a bit easyer. It has some recomended stops that I was not aware of on that trip as well, so that will add some interest to the whole thing.
There are some potential negatives, in that it seems to end at a pretty grotty petro industrial area in the southermost part of LA. No place for a beer nor a scenic wonderland, just a sign telling people that if they wish to continue south, swimming is the only option.(even the guidebook admits its sort of a disapointment) Its akward to get to the start at lake itasca, and then having finished, a long slog back to New Orleans and the airport/train/car rental. It is generaly assumed that one starts at the headwaters of the river and rides south, and as I learned on my portion of the trail that should give you lots of headwinds.
But in all, it seems a fairly adventurous trip, with some ground broken but not over used. It passes through some citys, using the bike infrastucture there wherever possible. I am planning on doing it in June and some of July, those being the only months that I can spare from my small business. There will be lots of bugs, and no doubt record amounts of rain, probably stupidly high heat. But as I have already drawn lines on the guidbook to cut it down on the bandsaw, and am fiddling about with tents, hammocks, and bug sprays, deciding what bike to take and listing what needs to be done to the one that is selected before riding it 2500 miles, Buying a new cookset(Brunton IB, have done some testing and am pretty happy), debating what sleeping bag to take, tossing around panniers, and looking into train or bus tickets, as far as I am concerned the trip has begun.