I did not have to do a factory reset, because I had saved all the bloat in a separate folder for just this occasion. I simply restored all the bloat and then followed this process:
Make sure ALL bloat is restored to the System/apps folder
Go to Settings -> Software Update and check for updates (Do this even if you have already downloaded before). If it prompts you to download the update, do so. It is 52 Megs I believe.
In the same menu got to Status. Yes, you will get an info screen with no prompt...let it display for a bit. After about 5 or 10 minutes you will get a prompt to apply the update.
The phone will reboot and the update will apply. It will reboot 2 or 3 times, applying updates each time. Eventually, it will reboot to your main screen normally. For me this process took about 15 minutes or so.
I now have the 5 bars. I got no errors. It looks like it took.
Apparently I did lose root. Root Explorer still works...I can view forbidden folders (and copy!) but I have no write access anymore. The "R/W" button is still there, but it no longer does anything. Looks like I will need to re-root.