The good news is that you have lots of excellent choices. Some of it depends on what you want to shoot. If you want stuff around the house that is really easy to work with on the computer, then the consumer cameras from Sony, Canon, and Kodak all do pretty well. Sony has superb optics, but use proprietary Memory Sticks. Canon has a faster shutter delay (all except the top digital SLRs have substantial lag when you push the button) and uses standard compact flash cars (cheaper). Kodak makes a nice little camera with a docking station that doesn't require cables.
I would probably suggest that you don't want to use the Canon D-30 (like Ted above had) or D-60. (Nikon has some similar cameras.) These are great cameras, but they are harder to use and cost substantially more. These cameras fall into the pro-sumer or low end commercial range. They have fast shutter speeds and can use your expensive SLR lens. They also require a lot of care.
So what do I use? I use a Canon D-60 for my nice work. When it is strapped around my neck we are probably talking about $3K or so. It lets me take gorgeous pictures with fast shutter speeds (great for doing zooms of fast moving cars at the track). I also screw up a ton of pictures because the settings are so precise. For my playing around and misc pictures, I have a number of Sony Mavica and Cybershot cameras that can go in my pocket. One of them is one that I have ever strapped onto the Cobra and used for in-car video footage. The optics on the Sonys are really nice and for around $300 the pictures are terrifc. If I was to buy just one camera and use it as an intermediate, I would probably buy something like the Fuji Finepix (about $350-$650 depending on model), Olympus E20 (about $1,500) or the Sony DSC F717 (around $1,000). These cameras are all very strong, but still have great point and shoot capabilities.
Finally, a note about resolution. The vendors push resolution as a reason to buy a more expensive camera. Unless you are blowing these pictures up and making posters, most of the time you will shoot a lower resolution than the camera max. I publish a lot of photos to the web and have to resample every image to keep file sizes reasonable. That part is a pain. On my Sonys, I just pic something reasonable like 1,024 dpi and don't bother to convert. So don't spend more money for more resolution since it just takes up more space. My rule of thumb is that unless I am doing some real work or want to print, I don't shoot higher than my screen resolutions.
Here is something I couldn't do with a consumer camera, much less without a tripod. Shot with Canon D-60.
Image balanced, but unretouched:
Sony Cybershot (unretouched):
US Imaging Technical Expert Representative, International Standards Organization (ISO)