Speaking as a non-professional, non-rich person who loves photography and loves learning, I love taking workshops. I don't take 2-3 a year, more like 1 every couple of years. The couple of days working with Tim Rudman was worth 10x the price I paid.

However, as has been mentioned by others, I get so much out of meeting other APUGers. There's not a huge contingent around my area, unfortunately. I went to the APUG conference inToronto, I went to the Wyoming gathering a few years ago (which turned out to be 4 of us...), I went to Colorado initially to go to the big photography conference that turned into nothing (met some great guys while out there, though) a couple of years ago and I went to Photostock last year. At each one of them I got to photograph areas I've never been to before, I got to meet other photographers with very different backgrounds from all over the world, I've learned an incredible amount from the people I've met and most importantly, I've formed friendships with people whom I never would have met if it weren't for the various gatherings put together by various APUG members.

Per Volquartz has a gathering every year (I believe) in Joshua Tree, that's not too for you is it? I have wanted to go that but just haven't made it out there yet.

I guess this is all just a long-winded way of saying, go to the workshops if you want, but also realize that you can gain a tremendous amount of knowledge and gain some new friends by attending the various gatherings