A week and a half ago I went to Aaron's Bike Repair in W. Seattle. Talked to a sales guy (Gregg. Yes, spelled the same as Gregg's Greenlake Cycle. Odd?) about purchasing a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I had my measurements taken and after discussing options for bike configurations and components, he told me he'd put together a price estimate. He emailed it a few days ago. It came to...a bit north of $3000. Oh my. I'd expected something closer to $2000.
I have a good bike with my Bianchi Volpe but it's not as tough and well equipped for loaded touring as the Surly LHT. I'll sell it if I get the Surly.
So I'm planning to eliminate the bells and whistles of the $3000+ package and just start with the plain bike itself (~$1300). I will need to upgrade/change components and whatnot, but can do that over a few months.
I finished reading Travels with Willie, Adventure Cyclist by Willie Weir and am currently in Roll Around Heaven All Day by Stan Purdum, both good books about the experiences of bicycle touring.