No problems with the jtek. Have it on 2 bikes, have put over 1k on my Paramount with it, and the LHT is approaching 500 miles without a hitch so far. For a distance tour, I'll carry a couple spare cables. I suspect the only place that will give a problem is the crossover flat on the pulley, but so far it seems fine.
Oh, throw Kool stop salmon refills in your avid brakes, less squeal.
If the bike shops don't have them, check Sports Chalet, Big 5, or Sports Authority, I was surprised at this one.
Oh, DO NOT do a rapid rise rear derailleur. Those are low normal derailleurs as opposed to high normal derailleurs. They'll work, but your shifting will be backwards. Get the M750 XT RD which can still be had for $40 or so. I'm running an Ultegra on mine since my around town gearing is a 12-27.
Sugino makes the XD cranks, and lick bike carries them. 70 bucks, 110/74 bolt circle, 660g, 46/36/26 chainrings, and they look great. I'm thinking of putting a 48 or 50 on for the large ring, but the 46 seems to work well. Besides, 110/74 chainrings are easy to find and cheap. Use a 107mm UN-72/3 or splurge on a Phil 108mm BB. The shimano/tange sealed bb is a good deal at 25-30. Basically for 100 bucks you can have a great crankset that looks great on an LHT.
I built my wheels for $154.80 plus shipping. CR-18's from lick bike 27.95 32H, 24.95 36H, 4x13 for 4 20 packs of spokes, and caught nashbar with a sale on XT hubs, 29.95 rear, and 19.95 front. I build my own wheels. If you have them built, add around 50 or so to the price. The A719's you see advertised are most likely MTB wheels. For touring 700c wheels, you most likely will have to have them built. You will most likely either have to built a set of touring wheels, or have them built. If you have them built, go through a place like Peter White Cycles, or get a set from Sheldon Brown. They're familiar with touring bikes, if your bike shops are like mine, I get blank stares when I ask about this stuff.
A touring wheel is an MTB hub with a road rim. Sheldon has couple good deals on the wheels. Not XT hubs, but they'll get you rolling and keep you in budget. XT hubs will probably put you over $200 for the set. http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/wheels.html#roadwheels