Is it easier to find groups playing Pathfinder than 4e?
I agree Encounters are really off-putting. Not exactly my idea of roleplaying. Actually, if you didn't know it was supposed to be a roleplaying game, it might look something else entirely (e.g. Descent.)
Overall, I would say go with what you like most. Seeing that Dragonlance exists mostly for older editions, it might save you not a few hassles to simply go the Pathfinder route (and why not, 3e?)
I too have been through a lot of changes of late, games-wise. I have run a very simplified 4e campaign for a few months, but even that was still too complex, so I have returned to Mentzer-edited D&D which gives me exactly the D&D experience I want: easy to prepare, easy to run, with enough depth to work at all levels of play. That's where I am going to stay for a while; at least until 5e comes out, and if it REALLY is as simple as they say, I might switch.
It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important. Never hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you [...] YOU ARE CREATOR AND FINAL ARBITER.
E. G. Gygax, Dungeon Masters Guide, 1979.