Alright so here's my problem, maybe I'm missing something.
I downloaded the ISO for Gloria (Linux Mint 7), burned the iso, it verified, I rebooted and booted off the cd.
I proceeded with the install onto my external usb 500gb western digital passport drive.
I manually partitioned the drive with:
/dev/sdb1 being / with 10GB space
/dev/sdb5 being swap with 3GB space
/dev/sdb6 being /home with 10GB space
The rest of the drive will be partitioned later with FAT32 partitions for easy transference of work and personal data between windows and linux machines.
I ensure to install grub to /dev/sdb (the external drive and not the internal windows drive)
No errors, install goes great.
I reboot and let it find the USB and boot off it, grub comes up and displays linux mint, linux mint safe mode, memtest x86, and windows. I let the default select linux mint.
Then it errors saying it can't load the specified partition. I hit the "any" key and it takes me back to a default blue black grub screen with the same options. I choose windows. Error loading windows.
I reboot and disconnect the usb drive, let it boot to windows, no problems.
My internal drive is fine, looks like grub was installed to the external drive after all.
In windows I go to disk manager, and I see three healthy partitions, the / partition is primary the other two are logical, everything appears to be the right sizes.
I reboot to the usb drive and check the grub boot paths. Everything looks fine.