I have decided to pull the trigger on the 29'er. I put the Trek up on Craigslist and hopin to see maybe two hundy for it. So, this is what I am thinking. This bike replaces the Trek, so it means it will also be the family bike that will pull the trail-a-bike and the soon to be purchased kid carrier. In fact, I might get a second seatpost that is a little more durable with the spring loaded post and double wide saddle for my fat fourth point of contact for riding with the kids. Hey, I might as well be comfortable!
I am going to start out on the low end, meaning, cantilever brakes, single speed, and rigid fork, and then over time probably build it up into more of a racing bike. The key to all this is of course choosing the right frame, in which it has the ability to convert from Single Speed to Geared. Still, if I never do anything with it, I will still have a fun bike to ride and I won't have to bring two bikes the next time I go on vacation for those times I want to ride alone.
Unless I find another frame, I think I have narrowed it down to either the Surly Karate Monkey or the Voodoo Damabala. Then there is the Soma Juice, that I really like the bent top tube configuration and I like the horizontal dropouts. It looks like the Dambala has a vertical dropout and I can't tell at this point if that is better or not. I am still learning what the differences are.
Then there is the Raleigh, that my LBS, wants me to look at. They are getting a demo that I think I am going to have to wait and ride before I decide to see if I am indeed worthy of Single Speed. Of course, I don't know if the Raleigh is capable of going geared. If not, then its out of the running. Of course their Web Catalogue makes no mention of their 29er and they don't want product questions via email so looks like I need to call them.