Friday, September 12, 2014
The Craziness of Decline
As I travel around America's heartland traversing large interstates and small two lane highways spanning the Great Plains over to the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys, down into the Ozark Highlands and even into cotton country a bit or up through Amish land into Iowa I have been getting a real feel for just how this decline is playing out.
Growth is localized into a few key areas especially business growth. While it is not uncommon to see the occasional government construction or the new house/line of duplexes going up no matter where you are seeing actual business growth is a rare thing indeed and almost always is limited to those areas with a high concentration of public colleges and universities nearby.
Having routinely traveled most of these roads a decade or more ago then hitting them again now also gives me an almost time capsule quality of observation.
Recently I have begun seeing comments on articles and forums that support claims I have been making for months now.
People are not driving like they used to.
Highways that used to fill me with dread knowing I was going to be stuck behind some commercial vehicle going 20 miles under the speed limit for miles with no way to pass are now a breeze. I still hit the occasional semi or grain truck but before oncoming traffic meant I was stuck I now have frequent breaks where I can get around them.
Just yesterday I delivered a 2014 F450 diesel to a 16 year old kid.
I drove this truck some 220 miles down Ozark Highland two lane highways. Up and down hills so steep you could literally watch the fuel gauge drop as the pedal went to the floor. I pulled up to a small two bedroom house in a subdivision that was thrown together in the last 10 years or so. Nothing fancy just one of thousands of the lower end middle class subdivisions that went up everywhere in the late 90's and early 2000's.
The driveway was so small and the garage filled with stuff that I got to listen to the discussion this young man was having with his parents about who's vehicle was now going to be forced to street parking since they now had three. I couldn't tell you what reasoning they had for thinking a 16 year old kid needed a truck of this size as it isn't my business but I must admit I did wonder about it a bit.
The newly licensed young man then drove me over to a local dealership where I picked up a brand new Mustang to take back North up the same roads I just came down.
The dealerships up North are buying up left over 2014 Mustangs as fast as possible right now because there is a serious run on em as people try and buy em at what they believe is a discount before the 2015's come out.
People may not be driving like they used to but let me tell you new vehicle sales are proceeding at a record pace. It's almost like those guys you see who buy a new firearm and then never have more than 1 box of ammo for the thing. I guess they look good sitting in the driveway or something.
People can talk themselves into any thing. I have heard so many excuses from buyers when I deliver their vehicles nothing surprises me anymore. I just nod my head and tell them how right they are or of course I see their point. I don't ask and only agree with their opinions when they voluntarily give them unasked but the levels of denial some must be in leave me shaking my head for hours on the return trip.
To me it's like they have this NEED to buy things but now can not afford to go shopping anymore so they resort to credit and the way things are structured it's easier to buy a new car on credit than it is to fund a shopping spree. If you get my meaning. How many times I have heard the words "I can't really afford this but..."
It's just crazy.
I wonder how long it's going to be before I start seeing the car repossession trucks out all over again like I did in 2009?
Got to make you wonder.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!