1) Gravel Roads?
All the time, and worse: that is where the good camping is.
2) Road Hazards?
Go slow, I have a couple 2"x12"x4' boards that I use for leveling side to side that can also be used in a pinch to help cross ditches or "cuts" in the road but have never needed them.
3) Dead Ends?
I try to have an idea where I am going, but sometimes I get in a small bind see post 201 here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...put-39409.html
but it usually works out. Just keep an eye on the usable turn around spots and don't go further than you want to back up. That whole thread has a bunch of good boondocking related information in it.
I doubt you need it, but if it makes you more comfortable, and you are competent with the firearm, why not.
I have to be reachable for family reasons. When I am out of cell coverage, I make sure my family will know where I and how to find me and give them the local sheriffs office number. On occasion I make contact with the District Forest Service office or the sheriffs office. So far they have always taken down the information- I think their attitude is that if something should happen, it will save them a whole bunch of back road driving and searching.
Having said that, I am going to satellite internet so I can be reachable by email regardless of where I am.
If you have more questions, be sure and ask. For my money the best way to see the west is by boondocking.