Then I drove to the local VW transmission shop and got a quote to tear down, repair, replace, and refurbish the transaxle for $699...a great deal. Places in California are charging about $500 but with the travel, gas, and possible warranty claim issues, I think I'm going with the Vegas people. Reputable shop too.
Finally, I drove to the "bug painter" in town who is the guy to go to. Unfortunately, turns out he was killed last February in a motorcycle accident. BUT, happened to drive around a bit and found some open shop space with a bunch of old VW buses and made a contact with local VW guys. Going to help me source some of the parts I need. COOL!
The real mission for the day was to get materials to build my body dolly which I'm going to use to move the body around the garage easily. Here is a link to the plans I am using. I'm going to build the dolly tomorrow but seeing as I had finally gotten all the body/pan bolts out...I JUST HAD TO see if the body would come off the pan. With some light screwdriver prying to release the old seal, the body separated from the pan for the first time since September 4, 1958! Wooohoooo! I raised it about an inch and then gently set it back down on the pan :)
I continued to disassemble the front part of the car. Still struggling with the splined shaft of the steering column, rusted solid. Will heat up tomorrow and and use some mechanical persuasion to help it! As soon as the dolly is finished, I'm going to wrangle some people and get the body separated and on the dolly so I can work on the pan.