Well, I bit the bullet and decided to go ahead and buy the Nikon 18-200mm VR lens. Now I've got a wide range lens that can stay on my camera almost always. Since I have the (less expensive) 70-300 VR, I was considering just buying a second body for the long lens. But having the 18-200 will mean traveling lighter and more convenience. When my D50 gets long in the tooth I'll pick up a second body and start to expand my equipment portfolio.
A few test pics are now online: http://picasaweb.google.com/paul.h.breslin/NewNikon18200VRLens