Had a really tough time trying to connect to http://maps.google.com/maps/geo using CFHTTP in CFMX 7.
Lucky, I stumbed across this posting on Pete Freitag's Blog - Connection Failure with Yahoo Web Services and ColdFusion.
I want to add that this is exactly what happened for Google Maps as well, specifically the Geocoding web service at http://maps.google.com/maps/geo.
I had to update the charset attribute on the CFHTTP tag to 'utf-8'. Thanks for the blog post Pete!!