Today I have been reading a lot about Salsa Vaya 3. That would be a good touring bike, right? As I would need a 54, I would get 700 tires. The disc brakes don´t seem to bad.
The Salsa bike will make a fine touring bike for heavy loaded touring. And lightly loaded touring too. Pretty much identical to the Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonnee. All are 9 speed I think. Triple crankset. Bar end shifters. Steel frame and fork. All will work fine.
To Cat, don't get caught up in "analysis paralysis." It's a lot of fun to obsess over the tiny details between choices; however, this being March, pick one, reserve the bike, and forget about it. Move on to something else -- is the visibility of yellow panniers worth the blaring color over a nice green or brown?
One nit on Russ' response, the Randonnee is a 10 speed for the last couple years.
And FWIW, the Randonnee is the second least expensive choice with a stock front crank smaller than 30 teeth, listing at $1200. (At least a couple weeks ago.) The Jamis Aurora is least expensive at $950, though you might want a bigger rear cluster, followed by the LHT around $1350 and the 520 at $1500. I personally spend a lot of time in my bottom two gears when I'm riding loaded, and the Salsa Vaya is geared a bit high, at least for me -- plus it's more expensive than the four models above.
Uh-oh, did I just feed the obsession?