"I'd do a 40D with 18-200 lens."
Funny I did tons of reading and this is the exact set-up I decided on. I got the camera body, lens, UV filter and 4GB card from B&H for $1300 and some change. Great deal and the people there are great to deal with. Beware of too deep of deals. Some of these sites are what they call "bait & switch". B&H was solid.