Well, after reading through the Barnette's Manual chapter on bottom brackets, I've decided that mine needs an overhaul. According to the text, for anyone riding regularly and through wet conditions, this should be no less than a yearly maintenance task. Of course this means new tools for me. The manual estimated it to be a 45 minute or so task, meaning closer to one hour for a beginner. So if you consider that would be probably $20-$30 labor at an LBS, I'll only end up spending slightly more for the 3 tools I need (and learn the deal in the process). Those being, I believe, a lockring tool, an adjustable cup spanner, and a fixed cup tool. Anyone knows any more or less let me know.
Supposedly the noise being made by my pedaling is due to looseness somewhere in the bottom bracket, or from dry or out of line bearings. Either way, taking it all apart, cleaning it, re-lubing, and putting it back together are the fail-safe to fixing the problem. Barnette's says that the bottom bracket rarely fails fully as indicated by the grinding noises. And that you'll only know by overhauling the bracket, and tightening associated mechanisms such as the cogs, pedals, cranks, etc. properly. This may take a while as I figure out just what tools, where to get them, and actually get them in my hands. I'll keep you all posted.