First, thank you for all the ideas on timing. I actually sprung for a timing light powered by 2 D batteries and it worked rather well.
So, I installed new plugs the other day and gapped them at .25 (the shop manual calls for .23 to .28 so I settled for in between.) After I installed the plugs, it started right up again and then I went on to change the wires and distributor cap that I bought from Bob's. During installation I didn't get the plug wires attached firmly and some came loose and I lost the order, but no worries right? I used the spark plug cover which has the firing order listed and the shop manual that shows where each plug goes in the distributor. I triple checked the order and I went back and tried to check and make sure that each plug snapped firmly into place in the distributor.
I tried to start her up and it tried to "hit," but was accompanied by "cough" and "chuff" through the carb.
I'm planning to go home tonight and quadruple check the order and may disconnect them all and start again. Does anyone have any other ideas or is there anything I've missed?
Thanks again guys!