Re: Getting there!
I was told a number of years back by a carb professional that the alcohol in our Kalifornia fuel will leave plugs more black than the tan which people looked for, for many years.
and I'd get a 2nd opinion on that! :-)
...also would be good to know which oil, and ratio you are using... but it does sound like you're on the right track for the process.
My goal is cheap, reliable, personal transport, below the tax collector radar. Fun counts for a lot!