Thanks all for your feedback! I really do appreciate it.
I'm very happy to be here among folks who have more insight than i do.
It seems like overall the quickest (and cheapest) way to get it up and running (literally) is the Dob route, so for now gonna go that way.
I know I've seen plans posted around the internet, so I'll track some down. (Of course if people have preferred how-to guides, they want to recommend, please share).
I don't mind putting something together as a DOB now and then changing to a GEM later, if the Astrophotography bug bites, so it can't hurt for me to periodically check in with the classifieds (here and elsewhere) in case something suitable pops up.
(Any specific [wallet-friendly?] GEM recommendations that will work with this scope are welcome.)
But this is great, as it gives a direction for me to go in.
Best wishes all,