Just though I'd update everyone on how the build is going.
Long story short - I got it working (with some help from Nougat).
I've reinforced the fenders and fixed what was likely an air leak at the carburetor.
I got a dual pull brake lever after having riding it around for a while - like it a lot better
I've had at least one successful "long" run since I've made my most recent adjustments and fixes.
Just kind of breaking it in now. Soon I'll be riding it to work!
Let me know if you guys have any hints or recommendations for someone like me at this point.