First off, yes Verizon's INPulse service lets you do text and picture messaging, albeit at high rates (10 cents apiece for text, 25 cents apiece for pix). Web is also available, at a disgusting (in my opinion) 99 cents a day.
As far as getting a Page Plus phone goes, take a guess at who's your best bet...it's Wal-Mart! Go online and select their free ship-to-store service and a week later pick up either the relatively feature-full UTStarCom CDM7075 (Verizon-branded) for $40 or so plus tax or the Motorola Razr v3m for about three times that amount...I'm really tempted to do the latter and have done the former (well...I just bought the phone at the store that had 'em already). As a side note, yes, you're looking for the INPulse versions of these pones. As long as you don't call any permutation of *228 on them, they'll activate on Page Plus just fine.