thanks everyone for your enthusiasm! it's good to know others are along for the ride. to answer the question about my choice of the tiger, here's a post from my "Obsessive-Compulsive South America Trip Preparation
Triumph Tiger 800xc vs. the Competition
there is also a lot of info on the tiger and it's accessories in my Canada trip, which you'll find a link to in my signature.
i would make the same choice over the KTM 990 and the F800GS again in a heartbeat.