On my system, I don't need to perform all the escaping that you are doing. The same command that I use on the command line works in the shell script because nothing is interpreting the command before executing it. However, if you have another shell reading commands from this script and executing them, then you would need the escapes. If that doesn't help use bash -n $0 where $0 is your current command line to see if you have syntax errors before running. Sometimes the error messages are slightly different (or more of them) when just analyzing.
Sorry, I don't know of any public Linux Servers.
If you need an easy install try Xandros Open Edition. You answer 5 or 10 questions, wait about 30 minutes and voila instant Linux - with sound and networking. http://www.xandros.com
In the above script I want to take the string from the command line and put it in the find command in the shell script I have a hard time getting the shell to expand it in single quotes like in the regular command