Time for the acid test.
Shutdown completed by itself.
I unplugged and reinserted the flash drive.
Press the start button and it boots to PCLinuxOS from the flash drive. It knows me as a user and logs in correctly. I clicked on Synaptic, clicked reload, there are no package upgrades.
So, as you say, I now have a full install on the flash drive, and it is bootable. I should be able to upgrade browsers, or make other changes, and they will be permanent.
Thank you for the assistance, JohnBoy. Is there some place that I should document the stuff I learned? Earlier in this thread, I made note of some of the errors that I made previously that I corrected. I am going to go ahead and look at all of it and see if I can write, at least for myself, a full procedure for doing this again, starting with PCLinuxOS 2010.1 iso. If I get really motivated, at some future date, I may try the whole thing again, just to see if I can do it completely.