I just wanted to shoot out thanks to Clark W. Griswold, Beretta, & Jeff Leiberman who responded to my post on November 15th. Today I successfully spanned the distance using the repeater mode on the WAP54G and just connected it in via cat 5 cable to the laptop in the garage, thus eliminating any need for the WUSB54G at all. The signal directly coming off the AP is much better than trying to use the wireless USB via the repeater since I'm only using the WRT54G and WAP54G with the big antennaes (as supplied).
Just a few interesting points though.1) Repeating between the WRT54G and WAP54G didn't work with the Sveasoft's Satori 4.0 firmware & I had to go back to Linksys latest firmware 3.01.3 for the router. The WAP was up to date on the firmware hence no change necessary. I found this out after spending an hour on the phone with Linksys tech support and finally just reverted back to standard firmware rather than stay on hold forever.
2) The other bummer is that no matter what firmware you try to use, no one supports WPA encryption over repeater mode yet, so I had to take a step back in security to WEP 128 bit until someone (probably not Linksys) adds this feature to a newer firmware for these devices.