I rode the Long Haul Trucker on my trip, have never toured on another bike so I can't compare it. However it was a nice stable ride, well designed for carrying loads. All the bells and whistles for attaching racks, fenders, water bottles, bike pump, spare spokes, etc. I also rode on Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires at 700 x 28. I felt the 28mm was a tad too narrow for me. I felt every nook and cranny of the pavement, and the wheels seemed, well, almost fragile. Not that I had problems with them, but I think I may go for 35mm next time.
Also, check out the parts department and the gear ratio calculator at HarrisCyclery.com. They have some good gear combinations for touring, and lots of information on all things bicycle.
If you are the least bit mechanically inclined, you also may want to put your bike together on your own, and shop for the best deal on parts. I found this to be cheaper than the pre-built bike, plus I got exactly the components I wanted. Also, you now know your bike inside and out, making repairs that much easier.