I'm thinking of getting a Novarra Randonee in Sept when REI puts them on sale. I'd like to compare it to the cost of building an LHT from scratch, but I suspect I might want to switch out some parts on the Randonee before I take it ~1500 miles fully-loaded round-trip. So, if you were to buy a 2007 Randonee, what would you change, what would you add, and why?
Also, I've had an LBS tell me I should buy custom-built wheels for such a trip. I only weigh 140 lbs; how necessary are hand-built wheels?