Thanks for all your tips. I am really stoked for the rally! I have decided to ride through Wednesday night from Park Rapids, MN down I-94 through Minneapolis, then on to Madison, WI, then down I-39 to US 24 straight east to Lima. I hope to arrive in the morning on Thursday, but if I get too tired I will stay overnight somewhere on the way. As far as the return, I am considering the reverse of my aforementioned route, taking the ferry, or going through the UP. I will decide that at the rally. Going anywhere near Chicago is off the list.
As far as packing, I picked up a Helen 2 Wheels dry bag that should hold most of my camping gear. I'll mount it on the rear seat. My other stuff should fit in the side bags no problem. Except for a cheap lawn chair, which I intend to buy at Wal Mart in Lima. I have much experience with my camping gear (not via motorcycle), so a trial run using it isn't necessary. I may pack it all up and ride with it a bit for a handling perspective, however.
Again, thanks for the tips. See ya there!