I am pretty much in the same camp as the original poster. I'm not working for clients, so I don't have the need for immediate proofing that others have.
I have a cheap Canon printer that I use occasionally, but that's mostly to get an idea how an In-Design file will look in print. I use it more to check fonts, layout, and proofread, than to evaluate images. I just can't really visualize how something will look in print unless I actually see it on paper.
But, for photographic prints, I send everything out. There is a Walgreens less than a mile away, that I can use for quick prints, and they actually do a pretty good job. (Although they often "hold" my prints behind the counter and ask me if I have a "release form" from the photographer. I have to explain that I am the photographer. Pretty amusing really.)
For final printing I usually send to M-Pix. I can't believe how fast they turn things around. Upload the files in the evening and they have them in the mail the next day. I'm very pleased with their quality. I've never had a bad print from them that was their fault.
I've looked at nice printers, but at this stage I don't do enough printing to justify the cost and, frankly, I admit I'd rather spend the money on other toys (which is what it would be for me.)