ryanwanger, I can relate. Try not to get discouraged at the "rage" over pinball prices. Pawn Stars and such shows have got everyone looking for a payday every time they open an old storage unit.
It's like fishing. You just have to keep casting and working on technique.
I live in an area which has been historically poor. Not too many wealthy folks live here who could afford pins for personal use or arcades and therefore, not too many pins laying around awaiting discovery.
I read stories from you folks in the Northern and Northeastern states - warehouses full of pins discovered for the picking, realistic prices on project machines, deals deluxe because the pin supply seems to have pooled in your region over time. And all I can do is dream and look on with envy.
Here, we get the occasional E.M. machine which is beat to pieces or been rotting in a barn somewhere.
Try trolling neighboring states as well as looking in your own region.
Make lots of friends who share your interest in pinball. Join a club and shake a few hands.
It's a patience game.