The road is flat and straight here with good views. The shoulder is a little narrow, but safe enough if the walker pays attention. In my opinion, the biggest danger is getting hit from behind by a passing car.
The first line of defense is to wear something bright yellow or lime green. I think having a mirror on the push cart would help.
Reality Hike Weather and Gear
A reality hiker would be about 70 miles ENE of Atlanta. The temperature today was 28 degrees at about 8 am local. It's not too cold for camping with the right gear. It's perfect weather for walking. Towns are close enough together that it would be hard to get in serious trouble.
Everyone chooses different gear, so this is brainstorming. The hike starts in Pueblo, Colorado with the potential for severe cold for about the first 300 miles. Water isn't an issue here, so weight isn't an issue. I think I'd start with an old military down bag which I'd plan to donate to a homeless shelter later. These are bulky, but only cost about $35 to $50 on eBay.
Then I'd get an Alpine 20 bag at WalMart or a similar store. These are comfortable to about 30 degrees without a pad. I like the Alpine 20 because washing it doesn't seem to affect the temperature rating. I've tried other inexpensive bags and they get cold at about 40 to 50 degrees.
In about New England, I'd get a good zero degree bag as the weather starts to cool. I'd use this bag for the remainder of the reality hike.
Clothes are not a major concern. I've found piling on layers of clothes works for cold weather. This morning, I wore 5 layers when it was seven degrees. None of the clothes need to be designed for backpacking, so a person could get what's cheap at a box store and discard it when it isn't needed.
In my opinion, getting gear from home could be a hassle. It could result in extra rest days and these might be more expensive than just buying the gear along the way.
Yesterday I was forced to take a rest day due to fatigue. I only walked 6.7 miles yesterday. I spent the rest of the day staying off my feet and I took a nap. This morning, I was almost completely recovered. I cut the morning walk short from 5.1 to 4.7 miles. I only cut it short because the road I usually walk on was snow-covered and I didn't want the added risk.
In order to avoid the fatigue mistake, I'll follow the 28 day cyclical training plan. I know if I increase the miles too quickly the fatigue will be quick to return.