I would LOVE to see photos of your MTB conversion
I did a search, and there are some cool ideas out there. But most of the photos and advice was at least a year old. Are you up for it again?
I have gotten more and more into riding my road bike, and spending less time on the trail. So, I think I will be converting my old Gary Fisher Tessajara into a commuter/tourer. It's an aluminum frame, but it seems comfortable enough. Definitely some new bars (drops?), and a B17. I haven't put any thought into the shifters or wheels yet. But I'd like to see your stuff, and gather some more ideas. There's racks and bags to think about, too. I may not ever get to do that dream tour, but the first step is to do the research and build the bike. If I can swing it, I really want to explore Canada next summer. And this will give me a cool project to work on when the boring winter months come.
I just really started to get into this forum the last few days, and you guys have already answered a lot of questions, and given some real inspiration. touring101.com also had some excellent suggestions.