crundy, I was in the same boat as you were. I had to downgrade to be able to do anything significant. When following the sticked downgrade guide, keep in mind that the file names aren't exactly the same as the original post suggest (but still similar enough to easily figure that out).
I currently have some trouble with DRE's. It's probably the discs I'm using (Tayou Yuden), but it could also be the fact that it's a newly bought European Wii.
Anyway, whether you have a cIOS installed or not shouldn't matter for the guide. I didn't start downgrading till I found out a crapload of programs didn't work with 3.4. You do need an SDcard, a copy of Twilight Princess, and use the Twilight Hack (latest version) to install the homebrew channel though (I think it's also in the guide). From there on, you can just downgrade by following the instructions in the guide.