For all - I believe the problem is solved and (embarrassingly) it appears to be as simple a spark plugs. With 42K on this set of plugs since the 60K service (which I had my mechanic in northern Virginia do) I just had assumed these plugs were good for 60K. I now know that the plugs are good old Bosch copper cores and that it was just the system telling me it was time for them to go. My Indie recommended doing the plugs before bringing it to him - thanks.
I did fix the vaccum leak which was the main hose from the intake over to the solenoid by the washer bottle that was hard & brittle where the hose was closest to the engine and "shielded" inside the black plastic wrap. I got back from 500 mile trip this weekend with ZERO problems, 27 MPG and renewed peace of mind.
Thanks everyone who volunteered info and in particular Arthur Dalton for walking me through the code procedure.
Cheers, Denny Argall