Forgive my ignorance. Now to start over. . . .

I suppose I got a little excited about the reviews of the VPI Traveler and didn't realize that they're out of production and now darn near impossible to find. The post regarding this vs a Clearaudio Concept has been deleted. It seems that the Traveler hit the sweet spot for me as far as performance vs price. 

Sticking with VPI, it's the Cliffwood (ehh), the Player (I don't need a phono pre and don't want the headphone amp), and then it seems a pretty big step to the Prime Scout (I'd feel shameful spending less than a grand on a cartridge for). 

So, if you can find it in your heart to forgive my ignorance of the facts surrounding availability of the Traveler, I would appreciate suggestions for turntables in the $1500 to $2000 range. 
If you can up your game a little and negotiate with a seller, a higher performing used table is the way to go. Maximum bang for the buck.

Since youre considering VPI, I would check this out. This is good to go with a decent phonostage...done.

Ive used a Classic for several trouble free years.
Take a look at Goldnote Valore

Or the all acrylic version...

There are other models also, but this one is in the middle of your budget

Regards - Steve
Steve (WillieWonka) - Goldnote makes some nice looking gear. I'll add that to the list of potentials. 
As far as I know, there aren't any Gold Note dealers in the USA.  I bought a Gold Note Vasari Gold cartridge from the Canadian Distributor.  They were very friendly, took my CC info over the phone and shipped via UPS the same day.
For around $500 you can get a nice VPI HW-19, imo a much better table than a new entry-level VPI. Add a Rega 300 or Jelco arm for a few hundred bucks (or the amazing Audiomods arm for about twice that), and you’ll have a real fine LP player at a bargain price.
Lots of good suggestions so far, so I thought I would chime in.
Last year I bought a used Clearaudio Emotion as a second deck.  I bought it on Agon for $1300.  I decided to hook it up to my main system for a comparison to my Clearaudio Performance SEP.   I was amazed at how little difference there was.  I also learned that the Marantz TT-15 is made by Clearaudio and is essentially the same TT as the Emotion.  You can buy this brand new with a Clearaudio Virtuoso cartridge for $1500.

I also owned a Clearaudio Concept and was not impressed.  It was just OK.  If considering the Clearaudio brand I would recommend a Performance or higher.  

Prior to this I owned a Well Tempered Classic for a few years.  This is an excellent TT and can be bought used for less than $1500.  Highly rated and I thought it sounded great.  The only down side is it's a vintage deck and finding replacement parts can be challenging.  

It might be best to buy from a seller who accepts returns.  I believe Needle Doctor and Music Direct allow returns.  

Good luck!
Good to know reference the Concept snackeyp. I'm of the notion now that I'd like something where I wouldn't have to hunt down parts or someone for repair. Brands that are carried by American retailers are preferred. I don't mind tinkering and I love the idea of vintage but I typically work 60 hour weeks. 

I did get in contact with someone who has a couple of Travelers in stock still, but I'll look into those other options as well.

Your post reminds me of the inherent flaws regarding the VPI model. One day it’s a Traveler, the next it’s a Nomad, the next it’s a Cliffwood. The next I will probably be dead. The problem with your particular situation is,
your work schedule.. you’ll need to add an additional 20 hours per week just to research all of the VPI products and their relationship to what is currently available. Then, you’ll have to figure into your’s future. If you think it’s difficult now, just wait until you decide to upgrade in a couple of years!?

Check out REGA.