Just like Paul, I am interested to hear how bad of shape is your engine.
Will it try to turnover at all?
As for machine shops, the one I went to when I rebuilt my motor was in Paul's neck of the woods. He recommended a great shop in Richmond, TX and these guys where great, very knowledge and since it was a small shop, they were very very reasonable priced.
I will tell you ... they rebuild my top end for under $325! I was excited. I then put that on my block myself. Took about 7-8 hours of home DIY time. But well worth it.
** Knock on wood ** 1.5 years of AutoX and the SVT still runs strong.
I have an extra engine ... but I want to rebuild it as a backup.
Good luck in anything you decide Tim. And I heard you were thinking about going back up North. Well, hopefully you come and hang at least once more before you head out bud.