i know the little 650 is more then capable as a buddy of mine has ridden his Dakar to Alsaska from our home town in NY several times. i am giving serious thought to putting a 45 tooth rear sprocket on prior to my trip. maybe i will swap out the rear sprocket when my bike come back from BMW (knocking in the engine) so i will have plenty of time to see if i like the change. several people recommended i switch the CC sprocket to a 15 tooth (stock is 16) saying i would like the added torque. it was nice but i really didn't care for it on the highway. i realized what works great for one person is not necessarily good for someone else.
the KOA campsite option is a very good one, and i had planned on looking into it. i am sure it is much more secure then some super 8 motel right off the slab.
i started looking at route planning and i think i will have time to ride approx. 50% slab 50% secondary roads on my way out. on the way back i had planed to head S/SE and come up through the southern states so as not to ride the same roads i took on my way out. luckily i have plenty of time to plan a route that will offer the best in terms of time as well as quality of roads.