Well I stumbled on a solution, at least for me, and I am posting it incase someone else would like to try it.
I was NOT getting any indication of the blackberry in the device manager under the USB controllers, no Blackberry Smartphone nothing. Only Blackberry SD under 'Portable Device' which just shows that vista was seeing the mass media card in the blackberry. DM didn't see the BB and my BB was giving me infamous message mentioned in my post.
Anyway, with the Blackberry plugged into the USB port I did a Windows update. Not really thinking that it would do anything. Well, I was wrong....among all the updates for Windows was the update for RIM Blackberry Smartphone. So I installed it and poof the computer started installing the device driver and now I am in business! No where in my research did I see performing a Windows Update with the Blackberry plugged in. I don't even know why I tried it but I am glad I did. Hope this helps others