first off, awesome project. the amount of stitchwork is unbelievable and the quality is much. much better than most people start off with (myself included).
I've also done the hitchiking, it's way more tame than most people think, if you do it right. You gotta protect yourself, and it's best not to do alone. I have hitched alone ( one of the the longest trips I ever made I did on my own and that was Utah to S Florida) but I wouldn't recommend it, it was kinda scary.
I've also hitched quite a bit, in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Botswana, Zanzibar, Israel and the list goes on.
I won't recommend it, it takes a certain type, but it is one incredible way to travel. I've met incredible people and had almost exclusively good times. I can say without exaggeration that the two worst hitchhiking moments were hitting and killing a deer on a rural road in BC and being forced by a trucker to go see the Terry Fox monument at 2 in the morning.
Congratulations on a job well done and a great sounding trip.