Great write-up, The Other JC!
When I first fitted my Elka shocks and then removed them later for servicing (refitting the stockers to keep the bike on the road), I only went as far as removing the top panel of the gas tank to gain access to the front shock mounting hardware. After looking at it again when I refit the Elkas, since I was now familiar with what needed done I realized I really didn't have to remove anything at all for access to the front's top nut. Everything below still had to come off, especially since the Elka shocks are a bit larger diameter than the stocker's. Just thought I'd add this as food for thought and to save some work next time you remove the front.
Current: 2014 R1200GSW