You definitely got this right. It looks great.
PS I recently started going through some of my old images to correct for the exact same problem. The Photoshop lens distortion make it so easy nowadays.
I can certainly see why so many picked V3. However, for me, V2 edges it out as my favorite.
As to the long process you went through. I suspect there is an easier way. If you are getting Photomatix, as mentioned by Trev, you will be able to have it do all the heavy lifting for you.
The other thing to be aware of is that a lot of photos that look untouched are, in fact, the product of a lot of work.
Great autumnal image, Jenn. Sometimes putting the subject smack in the middle of the frame is the perfect thing to do. This is one of those times.
I like how the tree bark acts as a natural frame.