OK, so this is where I am on this one...
Stripped it down the other day, grinding, sanding polishing, priming and spraying. I have parked the idea of the Desert camo Sharki colour for now (it's not available in the Prince Albert powder coating booth, but rattle can matt black is ;) Thanks to the soft focus ability of my Nokia talking camera, you can't even see the high quality welds. Probably better that way.
I have also installed a new crankset and chains, well, chain and a half. Yes, new chain and new cables are half the way to solving a lot of cycling problems.
Also back on is the SLX chain tensioner (thanks to Mechanical Ray, http://fiforiders.blogspot.com/2010/06/my-freedom-challenge.html). It turns out that chain tension is an issue when you have a crankset with three functional rings. The trick seems to be to set the "middle-rear" derailleur in the middle (strange that) using the limit screws and the ubiquitous piece of tying wire.
The "cockpit setup" is almost edzachary the same as the 29r, so we are off to a good start. In fact they are so similar that I reached out to change gear on the 29r...and a voice from above said "sit and spin *^%**&^%"
All that clutter on the bars? Mary Bars, Ergon grips, Deore brake levers and R40 (about $6) friction shifters, think I have all my bases covered there, except the bell.
So, just the luggage to sort out. Di is making two frame bags (she of XtraBag fame) one for the front triangle (100mm wide) and one for the third triangle (250mm wide). And maybe a pair of panniers for the back.
And then I suppose I'll have to do the long trip this bike was built for.