I've ridden 50 across and it's not bad other than you will run into heavy truck traffic in places. Fuel isn't a problem for the most part and yes it will probably be windy on any of the roads. I haven't ridden 96 however I doubt if there is as much truck traffic on it. I don't know it it's too far north or not but 36 is also a good road and not a lot of traffic on it. On 36 you will miss all the larger cities on your way across.