Empty execution – Flat head beacon


The growl started shortly after I put on the studded tires. Later I thought it was a purring rear wheel bearing. The mechanic informed me that the whine was coming from the rear differential. Great, I thought, sounds expensive, hope parts are available. The joys of cars of the pandemic era.

I crawled under the old platform and changed the gear oil in the back, hoping that would quell the beastly noise. This is not the case. Suddenly looking at a new differential or maybe some new gears, I decided to check out the options.

I contacted several dealers to check the availability of the car. The local dealership had all-wheel drive in transit, a bad model, with new inventory available next year. Missoula said he had dozens of them in transit as of mid-December, but all were booked.

The Spokane dealer informed me that the two models I had asked about had just been sold and the new ones were not expected until after Christmas. Same story without inventory in Great Falls and Helena.

Gallatin said he has one at the dealership next month that could be booked with a $ 1,000 deposit. No warranty on factory incentives as they change monthly and the platform is not at the dealership yet.

There is no negotiation. Simply, do you want it. You can’t sit in it or try it on, and you don’t have a choice of colors or options. I received a personalized video. It’s just yes or no. I have opted for no now anyway, and I will probably regret it as the prices are several thousand above the costs announced a few months earlier.

My plan to look at new cars failed without inventory. Prices in the event of a pandemic have also far exceeded the profit margins of the agricultural products we cultivate while working the land.

I have also kept an eye on recent housing availability. My family is looking for a small apartment on one level to live in the city. The rental and purchase prices are mind-blowing for anyone who makes a living with their own hands, with costs having apparently doubled in just a few short years.

No matter the sky-high prices, there is nothing available. The little inventory of homes, condos, townhouses, or raw land that hits the hot market is quickly filled with cash offers.

Montana’s housing shortage makes housing a luxury for anyone lucky enough to own a suddenly rich piece of Flathead. The recent tax bill that homeowners have paid has highlighted the new reality of appraisal.

There is an ongoing conflict for the soul of the valley between the people who have lived here for a while and those looking to buy in the market to be part of the community. Some want to stop new developments which spoil the quality of life and denigrate the sense of community. Others seek to protect water quality or slow down the endless and rapid traffic.

Many residents make a good living by building houses, carrying out construction work or supporting services associated with development. We need more America-built cars and more homes for the people of Flathead.

Our valley has grown rapidly. It’s just the beginning. Growth limits or car shortages will not drive prices down. It’s more like a bidding war for cars and houses. It is hard on the workers. We are running on empty and everyone is in pain.

Many lands, especially watersheds, deserve to be protected. Other areas are optimized for smarter and more innovative housing. The years gone by are fond memories and many of us miss those days when life was less chaotic.

Americans are migrating and little will slow the trailer down, no matter the cost of living here. Every plane full of visitors wants to live here. I understand, who wouldn’t understand, the rest of America is not as beautiful as the Flathead.

The pandemic has brought us shortages in the first world that no one anticipated. Montana faces many difficult choices about what our future holds for such essentials as life and driving.


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