I'd recommend Dwolla as a way of sending your dollars. It takes a few days to get set up, but it is the easiest way. You can transfer from dwolla directly into MTGox, if bitcoin-otc is too much for you.
I second that. Go to Dwolla and set up a free account now. Then link it to your bank. You'll be about 15 cents ahead right there, because they send you pennies to confirm the account. :-)
But you want to do that immediately, because each step in the process is painfully slow.
Bank Account verification... a couple of days.
Account transfer, from Bank to Dwolla... a couple of days
Transfer from Dwolla to MtGox... Not sure yet, haven't gotten that far.
I wish I would have set up my free Dwolla account on day 1... I'd be a week closer to having MtGox account funded.