Either way, tell the mechanics at REI what you're going to be doing with the bike, and ask them to check it over thoroughly. I've had new wheels on a Randonnee start breaking spokes within 1,000 miles, and another set of wheels that they checked over now has over 12,000 miles with no broken spokes (that I can remember).+1. Unevenly and inadequately tensioned spokes are epidemic on new bikes and lead to premature breakage. Have the REI mechanic check and, if needed, improve the spoke tension and trueness. Done properly you should almost never break a good quality spoke if you don't mechanically damage it.
Also, remember neither bike comes with pedals so leave a few dollars in your budget to add them.