I feel embarrassed that I am doing a second (new) install of MultiSite and I thought I learned from the first install. But, apparently not.
I followed all the steps in the codex and referred to my notes regarding the httpd.conf and other nuances I learned the first go 'round. But, when I add the .htaccess file everything collapses into a 500 Server Access problem.
I remove the file so I can access admin and I do not have a network admin area. If I go to Tools --> Network I get the message "Warning: An existing WordPress network was detected."
I know I must have missed a step. I was wondering if the mod_rewrite process is the culprit. The htaccess file on the first site contains <IfModule mod_rewrite.c> in the first line but what the admin/codex shows does not include it.
I'd appreciate any direction.