After hitting all the local shops I decided to give one in a town about 30 miles away a try and found that his prices were considerably lower. So.... I just bought a bike that is a step higher than the one in my original plan at a similar price. I am now the proud owner of a 2003 Raleigh SC40. I got it at about the same price another shop wanted for an SC30. Now I can take my old department store bike to play it again sports and see if I can get ten or twenty dollars for it. It served me well but it's time to move on. I sure have learned a lot about bikes in the past two months.
Happy cycling everyone, John