I might have seen you, BLott - we were there at the same time, 2 12-ft catarafts and a canoe.
We did two trips this year and used Blackhawk on one and Jim on the other - both fine. Jim is a really nice guy and willing to go out of his way if for example you need to pick up a proper poop-carrying bucket at Recapture Lodge because yours doesn't meet ranger spec....
I thought Government was challenging but easier than it looked in the scout. Some of the riffles are a bit beefier at low water also, Gypsum Creek was rather rocky to get into, and the rock garden just above John's Canyon has no clear path - expect to bounce off rocks. OTOH Eight Foot seemed a lot easier at low.
Upper John's is a nice camp. Upper Honaker is also really nice with a big beach and lots of room, and then you can hike up to the overlook. I like the Midway camp also.
Stop at Grand Gulch for a hike as well. It's easiest to go past the canyon entrance as the walls are lower a bit farther down. As far as Oljeto out is concerned, it's not that long in distance - we didn't stop for lunch and took out around 1:30, and we hiked up the canyon before breakfast, so it's not as long a day as I think BLott makes it sound. But it's a lot longer than the river mileage suggests because you have to cross and recross the river to stay in the deeper water.
I wrote up our most recent trip here on my blog
- lots of photos, including a flash flood in Oljeto.