Jim - I've been on several trips with time constraints. (My friend and I drove from NY to Florida to CA in 6.5 days) It sounds like you and I may have similar goals in mind. My main goal is just to enjoy the scenery and travel, but once I passed reaching 30 states I figured it would be neat to try and hit up all 50. If I had my way I would spend weeks on each trip, but do to work and real life, that is just not possible for me. (I'm 27, so we're close in age as well. I also see that you're from NJ, and I'm from NY. Yet another similarity.)
I'm just trying to make the best out of my trips, seeing and experiencing the most, safely, with the time restraints I'm given.
I was tempted to get a rental car from Seattle, but ran into issues with a rental car leaving the country. I'd have to rent from Canada and Alaska as well, and the price of driving one one-way in Canada (twice) got expensive.
GLC - I think you're right. If I can try and space the time out properly, and stay on Interstates, it shouldn't necessarily need to be a speed run. My main goal is to drive through duller areas at night.
Which brings to mind another thought I had. I should be receiving 20+ hours of daylight up there because of the time of year. I'm not sure where in Canada I'll start experiencing this, but I was hoping to see the Northern Lights. I might miss out on that, hmm...