The truck is alive again! I was able to drive it to work and back. Last weekend Gustavo and Nick came over with a case of beer and we got the axle in place and bolted in. It would have been a lot of work by myself, but with a few more hands getting it aligned and in place was easy, leaving lots of time to drink the beer. It then took me the rest of the week to get the brakes sorted out. It turns out that in 98 they changed the hub diameter on the drums by 0.2 in, and I put an '00 axle into my '97 truck, so the old drums wouldn't fit anymore. The 'new' axle only came with one drum, so I had to take another trip up the the junkyard to find another one. Then it was parking brake cables, shoes, adjustors, all the springs, lines etc. I finally had time with Alex on sunday to bleed the brakes and everything worked. This morning I gave everything a final tighten, put the wheels back on, and took it off the jack stands.
Something still feels a bit wonky with the brakes, the driver side may be dragging a bit, but I can't tell if that is just in my head since I'm trying to be sensitive to any noises it makes, and the way it feels, or if it is real. I'll put it on the forklift tomorrow at the office and tear it apart again quickly to see what is up.
Its exciting to be able to do a major component swap with parts from a junkyard and get the whole thing back together again and have it work. It also helps to have friends willing to come give you a hand (Gustavo has a 91 camero that I have spent some quality time rebuilding the steering column on, so he owed me one)