I've lived in Chicago my entire life and have seen very little of our country outside of flying to a few tourists destinations such as New York City, San Antonio, and Las Vegas. I'm having heart surgey on July 10th and I'd like to take a 2-3 week drive from Chicago to the west coast, in early September. And I'm not against flying back to Chicago.
But I'd like to see the country without taking major highways and I'd like to enjoy myself by taking my time, stopping and meeting new people, and seeing interesting things along the way.
So... My timeline may be a bit aggressive, but I'd appreciate any suggestions for routes to take on my way west and friendly, little, unique places to stop on my way there.