OK, I'm stupid! I knew it had to be a vacuum problem but couldn't figure out why since I checked the hoses a dozen times. Then, a buddy with the identical KLX called and he couldn't understand either. So he asked, "you do have the vacuum hose connected to the valve on the right side of the bike behind the throttle cable?", oh oh. I had the vacuum hose connected to the valve that is about an inch to the right of the choke knob, which obviously, isnt' the vacuum. I swear that's where the hose was attached to. Well, after removing the tank again and hooking up the correct valves the bike runs like a champ.
Thanks so much to everyone that has helped, even though I'm a dummy.
The KLX/DRZ's are great bikes. Have ridden sand in Florida, 300 mile days to National Forests, and days on MX tracks. Absolutely love it.