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Old 11-10-2009, 05:00 AM
 
475 posts, read 1,373,119 times
Reputation: 190

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[quote=Montana Griz;11557779]
Quote:
Originally Posted by cedar_bluff_tree_farm;

$800 a month is very doable in Bozeman if your daughter is willing to live a thrifty lifestyle. (Hint: 4WD vehicles aren't part of a thrifty lifestyle.) If she gets roommates, $250 or $300 a month in housing should be reasonable, and then add maybe $200 a month for food plus $100 or $200 for utilities and gas, so she will do fine.[/QUOTE.

Realizing that we all are entitled to our opinions.........I do take strong exception to the statement:" Hint: 4WD vehicles aren't part of a thrifty lifestyle."

I had suggested that she drive an AWD vehicle, and submit the following detailed reasons:

(NOTE: This young lady HAS NO EXPERIENCE DRIVING IN TYPICAL MONTANA WINTER WEATHER) IMHO, lets give her every advantage to having as safe a vehicle as possible. Since the location of her lodging has not been determined, she well could have several miles of "slippery" and/or snow covered roads/streets to just get to her office.
Or, she could also end up with lodging that would be quite close to her office......She still will be driving for reasons other than work-related.
She is not supplying the funds for the vehicle...her parents are.
Thus, an AWD vehicle is not directly or in-directly related to living a Thrifty Life Style.
It cost no more to drive an AWD (or a 4WD) vehicle than a 2 WD vehicle,
the additional cost is in the acquisition of the vehicle.
Bozeman is "bracketed" on 1-90 by Bozeman Pass on the east and Homestake Pass on the west. If she wants to go to Helena, she will also have to go over Elk Park Pass. If she wants to go skiing at Big Sky, she will go from 4810' elevation to approx 10000' . Again, IMHO an AWD vehicle with studded snows (for a 22 yr old women with NO experience related to winter driving,....is mandatory. Again, this vehicle suggestion is just my opinion.

And if you are wondering why I feel this strongly about the vehicle she will be driving, I offer the folowing:

I have been driving in mountainous & (snow country ) since 1946. In total I have driven in excess of (2) million miles. I feel very comfortable with my suggestions to the parent(s)of this young lady, based on what I have witnessed over these many, many miles driven in lousy winter weather in 'snow country'.
I greatly appreciate all the input. Having found this site and to be able to ask people who live in and understand Montana has been invaluable.

And honestly I don't know what is the right kind of vehicle for her. Her current vehicle a Pontiac Grand Prix is 10 years old and has needed several thousand dollars in repairs each of the past two years. The winterizing of this vehicle along with transportation costs seems to be a waste of money... so as a graduation gift we decided that getting her a new vehicle in Bozeman, made more sense. We are not rich, but we are committed to helping her do this.

I have tried to do research on safety as well as cost. Budget is no more the $24,000. Payment, fuel and insurance is on us. At one time I would have only bought a GM vehicle as our family has always worked for GM. But with all their problems and issues, that loyalty is no longer there. So it gets down to SAFETY and AFFORDABLILITY. I am open to any suggestions including someone right out saying "Stay away for that vehicle, or take a look at this one"

Having snow tires is a must. Studded tires make sense to me. Seems like a block heater and chains are as well.

I honestly am grateful to all of you, and I am paying attention.

Enjoy your day everyone.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:21 AM
 
475 posts, read 1,373,119 times
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Montana Griz, can you tell me about driving through these passes. First week in MT she has to drive to and from Helena for training. She is going to have only a clue in a week on how to drive on snow, let alone through areas that are known to be difficult or out and out dangerous.

She will have an emergency kit in the vehicle that we hope is never opened.

"Bozeman is "bracketed" on 1-90 by Bozeman Pass on the east and Homestake Pass on the west. If she wants to go to Helena, she will also have to go over Elk Park Pass"

thank you
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
317 posts, read 994,351 times
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Montana Griz might disagree with me, but here is my thought on a vehicle:

Studded tires are very important (but recognize these will have to come off in the summer). I like them much better than chains.

All vehicles have 4 wheel braking. If you're concerned about sliding off the road, 4 wheel drive won't prevent you from sliding off. And when you're sliding on frictionless ice (common in Montana), a big vehicle slides off as easy as a small vehicle. A 4WD vs 2WD might help you get out of the ditch a little easier. However, AAA or other roadside towing will get you out of the ditch as well and for much less money than a 4WD vehicle.

Reesmit, the most important thing is that the vehicle is front wheel drive primarily. Most American cars are RWD rather than front wheel drive, and they don't work very well in Montana (the engine weight helps add traction.)

If your daugher has a 4WD vehicle, it is very important that she drive 2WD unless the roads are slick. Driving in 4WD mode on roads that she has traction on will damage the drivetrain and lead to expensive roads.

I grew up in Whitefish. My families car was a Honda Prelude. We slid off the road maybe twice or three times in 20 years. I very rarely was in a four wheel drive vehicle. The fact that the car had front wheel drive helped immensely.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:28 AM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 13,485,475 times
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Yes my experiance is that on ice, 4/wheeling doesn't help but when you do need the 4WD that is the time you glad that you have it!
Would your daughter consider a pick up?
Our Toyota Tacoma gets it done over here.
Don't worry mom, here is a good site to look at the road conditions, and believe me when it is bad folks just stay home. My biggest concern coming from Oregon would be that I might get fired if I could not make it into work during a storm. Heck folks just stay over!
State of Montana Road Condition Map
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Old 11-10-2009, 09:27 AM
 
475 posts, read 1,373,119 times
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She said she really didn't want a truck, and I thought the SUV would give her a vehicle with a bit more clearance for the deep snow. At the current time we are leaning toward a Honda CRV and the Toyota RAV-4. Each of them have pretty good safety records. Jeep's rolloever record is awful. And the Fords and Chevy's are out of our price range.

Changing the tires in May should not be a problem. We will ask the dealer to change the tires which come on the vehicle to the studded snows before we pick it up. She than will have her orignal tires to put back on in May.

We currently have a family AAA membership, but am considering getting her own, with the longer distance towing.

The State of MT Road Condition is a great site. Thank you.

Yes staying where you are in bad weather is the best thing. But conditions where you are and where you are going are not always the same, so that map site is great tool. 30 years ago when living in OH, I left for work early one morning and the grass was not even covered by snow, as I was driving the 30 miles the snow kept getting deeper, and I was in the middle of no where. (before cell phones) I was afraid to stop and turn around, as I was sure I would get stuck in the process. So I kept going, by the time I got to work the snow was 10" deep and I did get stuck in the parking lot of work.

There is no question that a 4WD vehicle will get her out of some bad spots, but if she doesn't know how to drive it right, it is going to get her into trouble.

Enjoy your day everyone
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Old 11-10-2009, 09:34 AM
 
4 posts, read 10,437 times
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Hi Reedsmit - I went to college in Bozeman from 2004-2008 and it is a very safe, fun town. I am sure your daughter will be able to find affordable housing - I paid $330-$400 a month for my apartments and that was on the high end of things (with roommates). One of my close friends did a similar thing with AmeriCorps in Missoula and the money thing stressed her out at first, but it all worked out and ended up being a great experience (and led to her getting a pretty sweet job in Brooklyn recently).

As far as driving goes, the winters haven't really been that bad these past few years. I grew up here, so I guess I am used to winter driving, but I haven't ever had 4 wheel drive, just studded snow tires (I drove a Pontiac Grand Am while I was in Bozeman), although I would have to agree with seven of nine- Tacomas are great little trucks and she'd fit right in with a Tacoma in Bozeman (subarus are good too) The passes usually aren't very bad, you just have to remember to go slow. Homestake can get a little bit hairy, but for the most part it isn't too bad, and you don't have to take the I-15 to get to Helena from Bozeman (meaning you get to skip both Homestake and Elk Park) you can just take highway 287 at Three Forks (if you look at google maps it's pretty easy to see what I am talking about...). Also, a couple of common sense tips for driving in town (sorry if you know these sorts of things already, these are just things I have had to use when driving in the winter so I thought they might be helpful) - if you start to slide (assuming you have anti-lock brakes) just apply steady pressure to your brake, don't pump it or stop braking; if you can't stop in time at an intersection its usually best to just keep going rather than trying to brake in the middle of it, most of the time people will see what the problem is and wait for you to get out of the way; and don't forget to go slow, signal, and watch out for other drivers. My mom always makes me keep water, a blanket, and snow boots in the car when I'm driving a long way in winter, but I only do it to appease her - I haven't ever had to use them When I was on student gov't at MSU we started a new public transit system (called Streamline) that runs routes all over town throughout the day (and at night so you can catch a safe ride home from the bars- it is a college town after all) and there is also a bus that leaves from campus and takes people up to Big Sky. The in-town busses run every 15 minutes I think, so they are pretty easy to use if you want to run errands or something. Anyway good luck! If you have questions about anything let me know!
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:52 AM
 
475 posts, read 1,373,119 times
Reputation: 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by pic_chick101 View Post
Hi Reedsmit - I went to college in Bozeman from 2004-2008 and it is a very safe, fun town. I am sure your daughter will be able to find affordable housing - I paid $330-$400 a month for my apartments and that was on the high end of things (with roommates). One of my close friends did a similar thing with AmeriCorps in Missoula and the money thing stressed her out at first, but it all worked out and ended up being a great experience (and led to her getting a pretty sweet job in Brooklyn recently).

As far as driving goes, the winters haven't really been that bad these past few years. I grew up here, so I guess I am used to winter driving, but I haven't ever had 4 wheel drive, just studded snow tires (I drove a Pontiac Grand Am while I was in Bozeman), although I would have to agree with seven of nine- Tacomas are great little trucks and she'd fit right in with a Tacoma in Bozeman (subarus are good too) The passes usually aren't very bad, you just have to remember to go slow. Homestake can get a little bit hairy, but for the most part it isn't too bad, and you don't have to take the I-15 to get to Helena from Bozeman (meaning you get to skip both Homestake and Elk Park) you can just take highway 287 at Three Forks (if you look at google maps it's pretty easy to see what I am talking about...). Also, a couple of common sense tips for driving in town (sorry if you know these sorts of things already, these are just things I have had to use when driving in the winter so I thought they might be helpful) - if you start to slide (assuming you have anti-lock brakes) just apply steady pressure to your brake, don't pump it or stop braking; if you can't stop in time at an intersection its usually best to just keep going rather than trying to brake in the middle of it, most of the time people will see what the problem is and wait for you to get out of the way; and don't forget to go slow, signal, and watch out for other drivers. My mom always makes me keep water, a blanket, and snow boots in the car when I'm driving a long way in winter, but I only do it to appease her - I haven't ever had to use them When I was on student gov't at MSU we started a new public transit system (called Streamline) that runs routes all over town throughout the day (and at night so you can catch a safe ride home from the bars- it is a college town after all) and there is also a bus that leaves from campus and takes people up to Big Sky. The in-town busses run every 15 minutes I think, so they are pretty easy to use if you want to run errands or something. Anyway good luck! If you have questions about anything let me know!
Thank you

You had a lot of good information which I will be sure to pass on to her.

She is really looking forward to her year with AmeriCorp. Even with learning to drive in snow, I know she will be a lot safer in MT, than working in the inner city in Washington, D.C.

She is very outgoing and level headed, so she will adapt well to her new neighbors. She worked as a Resident Assistant at Florida State for 2 1/2 of her 4 years so that has given her a tremedous amount of experience with dealing with a little bit of everything.

We had a couple leads earlier today on room mate situations with MSU students. Being a new Graduate - Dec 2009 she will still be into the college student mode, and that may be a good match for her.

She may love MT so much she may decide that is where she wants to be.

Thanks again.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Approximately 50 miles from Missoula MT/38 yrs full time after 4 yrs part time
2,309 posts, read 3,623,460 times
Reputation: 4997
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reedsmit View Post
Montana Griz, can you tell me about driving through these passes. First week in MT she has to drive to and from Helena for training. She is going to have only a clue in a week on how to drive on snow, let alone through areas that are known to be difficult or out and out dangerous.

She will have an emergency kit in the vehicle that we hope is never opened.

"Bozeman is "bracketed" on 1-90 by Bozeman Pass on the east and Homestake Pass on the west. If she wants to go to Helena, she will also have to go over Elk Park Pass"

thank you
I'll try and make this brief:

First: There are 3 choices of routes to go from Bozeman to Helena:
A/ 1-90 west to I-15 north; this is the longest and you go over both
Homestake Pass (6375') & Elk Park Pass (6968'). It is a divided 4-Lane
Interstate all the way: 156 miles

B/ I-90 west to Junction with Hwy 69 (2 lane for 34 miles); to junction
w/ I-15 north into Helena. 128 miles total

C/ I-90 west to junction w/ Hwy 287 (2) lane. total 132 miles of
which 100 miles is 2 lane.
The choice would depend upon the weather and highway conditions.

Regarding AWD (all wheel drive) vs 4 WD...........................

A 4 WD vehicle is equipped so that the driver can determine (by means of a switch or knob) if he wants to be in: 2 wd...OR...auto (where the vehicle senses when to engage power to the wheel(s) that are slipping)....OR 4WD (where driving power is supplied to all 4 wheel.) NOTE: I know about "limited slip differentials" etc, etc, but lets keep it simple for these folks.

AWD (such as a Subaru Outback) is designed to supply power to whatever wheels need it...AUTOMATICALLY......There are no switches, buttons, knobs or levers to manipulate. It is all automatic! IMHO this is "The perfect System" for a 22 yr old young lady that HAS NEVER DRIVEN ON OUR WINTER TIME ROADS OR slippery grades, or whatever. Combine her lack of experience with driving in DARKNESS on unfamiliar roads that may or MAYNOT be snow & ice covered, on those trips to Helena the first week of January (sunrise approx 8:15 am/sunset approx 4:45 pm). I think an automatic AWD vehicle is the way to go... she'll have her mind on other things than looking for the right Knob to turn etc.

In looking back at some of the posts in this thread.......I don't understand the aversion to this inexperienced young lady having an AWD vehicle with studded snows. Come on now......why not give her every advantage she can have when driving in conditions that may "overwhelm" her. I did say "MAY" overwhelm...............

If she were my daughter (and yes I have an only child who is a daughter), I would get her a Subaru AWD Outback --with studded snows-- (probably a 2008 for about 20 to 22 thousand ( w/ maybe about 24000 miles on it) and
know that I've given her the safest vehicle in my price range.

The above are just my opinions.....others may have different opinions on this...and that's fine.

To the parents of this young lady:...........if you would like to speak with me on the phone about anything related to this situation.......just send me a personal e mail through this site and I will respond with my phone number.

Edit: Pic..Chic..101 provided some great info in her post....since I graduated in 1954, my knowledge of current day campus and town info is "somewhat limited". Have a good one.........and don't forget: "CARPE DIEM"

2nd Edit: If you go the route of buying a "good used Vehicle", I would definitely only consider "CERTIFIED PREOWNED".
And I sure it has been mentioned previously......if you buy it in Montana there is no sales tax.....and if you buy it from a Bozeman dealer, I am of the opinion that your daughter will have "less of a hassel" if she needs to have service done.

And No, I am not involved with a Subaru dealer, and have no reason(s) for recommending you purchase from the local Subaru dealer.........just thinking of ways to make things as simple as possible for your daughter.

Last edited by Montana Griz; 11-10-2009 at 06:05 PM.. Reason: 2 nd edit: more info
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:35 PM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 13,485,475 times
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You guys just show what Montana is, great folks who care about one another
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:06 PM
 
475 posts, read 1,373,119 times
Reputation: 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Griz View Post
I'll try and make this brief:

First: There are 3 choices of routes to go from Bozeman to Helena:
A/ 1-90 west to I-15 north; this is the longest and you go over both
Homestake Pass (6375') & Elk Park Pass (6968'). It is a divided 4-Lane
Interstate all the way: 156 miles

B/ I-90 west to Junction with Hwy 69 (2 lane for 34 miles); to junction
w/ I-15 north into Helena. 128 miles total

C/ I-90 west to junction w/ Hwy 287 (2) lane. total 132 miles of
which 100 miles is 2 lane.
The choice would depend upon the weather and highway conditions.

Regarding AWD (all wheel drive) vs 4 WD...........................

A 4 WD vehicle is equipped so that the driver can determine (by means of a switch or knob) if he wants to be in: 2 wd...OR...auto (where the vehicle senses when to engage power to the wheel(s) that are slipping)....OR 4WD (where driving power is supplied to all 4 wheel.) NOTE: I know about "limited slip differentials" etc, etc, but lets keep it simple for these folks.

AWD (such as a Subaru Outback) is designed to supply power to whatever wheels need it...AUTOMATICALLY......There are no switches, buttons, knobs or levers to manipulate. It is all automatic! IMHO this is "The perfect System" for a 22 yr old young lady that HAS NEVER DRIVEN ON OUR WINTER TIME ROADS OR slippery grades, or whatever. Combine her lack of experience with driving in DARKNESS on unfamiliar roads that may or MAYNOT be snow & ice covered, on those trips to Helena the first week of January (sunrise approx 8:15 am/sunset approx 4:45 pm). I think an automatic AWD vehicle is the way to go... she'll have her mind on other things than looking for the right Knob to turn etc.

In looking back at some of the posts in this thread.......I don't understand the aversion to this inexperienced young lady having an AWD vehicle with studded snows. Come on now......why not give her every advantage she can have when driving in conditions that may "overwhelm" her. I did say "MAY" overwhelm...............

If she were my daughter (and yes I have an only child who is a daughter), I would get her a Subaru AWD Outback --with studded snows-- (probably a 2008 for about 20 to 22 thousand ( w/ maybe about 24000 miles on it) and
know that I've given her the safest vehicle in my price range.

The above are just my opinions.....others may have different opinions on this...and that's fine.

To the parents of this young lady:...........if you would like to speak with me on the phone about anything related to this situation.......just send me a personal e mail through this site and I will respond with my phone number.

Edit: Pic..Chic..101 provided some great info in her post....since I graduated in 1954, my knowledge of current day campus and town info is "somewhat limited". Have a good one.........and don't forget: "CARPE DIEM"

2nd Edit: If you go the route of buying a "good used Vehicle", I would definitely only consider "CERTIFIED PREOWNED".
And I sure it has been mentioned previously......if you buy it in Montana there is no sales tax.....and if you buy it from a Bozeman dealer, I am of the opinion that your daughter will have "less of a hassel" if she needs to have service done.

And No, I am not involved with a Subaru dealer, and have no reason(s) for recommending you purchase from the local Subaru dealer.........just thinking of ways to make things as simple as possible for your daughter.
Thank you for all the good advice. I have no problem with an all wheel drive vehicle, just did not clearly understand the differences between the two.

The points about her having other things on her mind than looking for a button or knob is right on target. I am trying to make things easier for her, not more difficult.

Unfortunately or Fortunately depending on you perspective I do research, trying to get the answers to make the best decisions. This site has given me the ability to get answers to real questions, not just look at data and try to figure it out.

I am grateful the site is here, and there are people willing to take a bit of time and answer the quesitons.

Thank you.
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