Thanks all for the ideas and suggestions.
To answer some: I'm not really trying to "throw money" at anything. I've received advice right here from the very start that the CG-5 was not a great mount for AP. I'll stick with it for the next year or two at least, but that doesn't mean I can't dream of something better (not something without PEC, but perhaps something that tracks on both axes, has PEC training available, and can support a larger scope comfortably as well). Whether dreams ever materialize is another story. Meanwhile I plan to get as good images as can be got out of my particular CG-5.
The auto-guider is something I'll buy in the near future, once I learn a bit more about post-processing. The mini-guider package on Orion seems just the ticket.
I will learn how to do perfect polar alignments, although I don't think this was really the culprit--later in the same session I got near-perfect stars when photographing M2.
I will make the balance a bit off on the East side, this will require getting a lighter counterweight that fits the CG-5 shaft (anyone know of a source?)
So far I find AP to be shrouded in layers of confusion. Every layer that I penetrate leads to another. But I've taken some pictures, I'm having fun, and I have the collective wisdom here to help. I'm sure I'll get there, albeit kicking and screaming all the way