OK...I've completed the round trip begun in March: Eastern Long Island to The Texas Hill country and back with many stops in between, including six weeks of storage in Fort Worth. As it was my first long trip with my 2006 20' safari I was more than a bit anxious and (at first) felt every bump, crack and pothole within 50 feet either side of the road. But I got over it quick!!
As discussed, I-30, especially from Memphis west to Texas just plain stinks. I also disliked 30 in Texas as there is a ton of construction and it is far more urban than the similar stretch of I-20.
Coming back east we took I-20 all the way from Fort Worth to Birmingham. It was an absolute pleasure compared to 30 in every way. The road condition was far superior, there was barely any construction and the views were far better and considerably more rural than on 30.
As I plan on making this trip annually I can safely say that I'll probably never see Memphis, Little Rock and Texarkana again.
I also prefer the stops along the way. Lincoln Parish Park just off 20 in ruston is absolutely beautiful. Roosevelt state Park (between Jackson and Meridian in Ms) was fine and Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Al was awesome. (We are serious mountain bikers and the Ruston and Pelham Parks offer some of the best riding in the Southeast.
Turning north in Birmingham: 59 and 75 were mostly OK and 81 was easy although there is a bit of construction towards the middle of Virginia. Given more time we'll explore Route 11 a bit, especially as our passing through seems to coincide with the 500 mile yard sale.
All in all the 5000 + mile trip went flawlessly. I can't wait to do it again.