Prius Personal Log  #5

February 18, 2001  -  March 12, 2001

Last Updated: Fri. 2/07/2003

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3-12-2001

Forced into the deep snow.  We got about 5 inches of new wet snow.  Only partial plowing had been done.  And all three lanes of traffic were packed with vehicles.  Here comes an ambulance.  To get out of the way, I had to drive right into unplowed emergency lane, where the snow from the highway itself had been dumped.  So even though the Prius didn't have 4-wheel drive like most of the vehicles there, it could still handle the situation.  The best way to avoid getting stuck is to keep moving, despite the fact that there wasn't much room.  Slow, powerful crawling is something the electric motor does quite well.  I drove right back onto the highway without any trouble.

3-10-2001

Results of the Bladder Effect...  All winter I've been refilling the tank when the indicator got down to the last bar. Today, I did the same.  But this time a whole extra gallon fit.  The warmer weather has obviously caused the bladder to relax back to its normal larger size.  Being able to hold more gas now is great, but it really distorted my per-tank MPG calculation.  Oh well.  At least the Lifetime MPG isn't affected; unfortunately, it hasn't went up yet.

3-10-2001

GOOGLE!  Content has always been far more important to me than visibility.  Determined individuals need only search as far as one of the Yahoo groups or clubs; links to my website are plentiful there.  If exposure was essential to me, I would have registered a domain-name a long time ago.  I didn't though.  But out of curiosity today, I did a search for "Prius" on Google.  Sure enough, there was my website a few pages down.  Cool!

3-09-2001

Entering uncharted territory now...  My Lifetime MPG has been going down for the last 4 months, see: personal data.  Warming up the engine in the winter took its toll on my mileage.  And to make matters worse, the smaller bladder (caused by the cold) reduced the capacity of the gas tank.  But now that the average temperature is almost 30 F degrees, MPG is up, and the gas tank should be bigger.  Also, you can add to the fact that the car is now well broken-in and I'm a much more skilled hybrid driver.  This spring is going to be really fun!

3-07-2001

More Auto Show photos.  I completely forgot about the two unique photos I had set aside when sorting through the huge collection from the Auto Show.  I took a close-up of under the hood and inside the trunk.  Those 2 photos have now been added to the others. Check'em out: photo album 13

3-08-2001

Saw another Prius, kind of.  I was just 2 blocks from my dealer.  Whenever I drive by, I keep my eyes peeled hoping to see someone taking a test-drive in a Prius.  But rather than seeing their green Prius, I saw a silver one.  I think it was Larry driving the Prius I had seen back in February, so I probably can't chalk this up as a new sighting.  It sure will be nice when occurrences like this happen on a regular basis.  I can't wait!

3-07-2001

Auto Show photos, and this Prius is AQUA colored!  Those looking for photos from me of a Prius that isn't Electric Green Mica will be pleased.  The Prius at the Auto Show was aqua (light green with a hint of blue).  And these photos are noticeably better than last year's, since the resolution is higher and I didn't need to use a flash.  Realizing this, I took a bunch of photos.  My 7 favorite are now here:  photo album 13

3-04-2001

Went to the Auto Show again.  This time was different though. Now I was with my father and a good friend of mine.  We were there to check out all the other vehicles.  So I actually only made an appearance at the Prius a few brief times.  It was worthwhile taking the time to look through the other vehicles, especially when you realize some will eventually end up being available as hybrids.

3-03-2001

Reached 10,000 miles.  While at the Auto Show, I actually only had 9,996 miles on my odometer.  But I knew that I wouldn't even be able to leave Minneapolis before hitting that magic number.  As I was driving, I got trapped in the really heavy "cross town" traffic when the odometer rolled over.  Driving in stealth mode made the event even more exciting.  So I had to do my ritual honk at that exact moment.  (Resistance was futile.)

3-03-2001

Went to the Auto Show.  I had a blast.  It was a fantastic opportunity to provide "real life" information.  Everyone was asking me questions, even the salespeople.  So I did my best to quench their curiosity.  Then I'd leave.  After spending time looking at other vehicles, I'd come back and just slip into the crowd.  Eventually a question would arise that no knew the answer to.  That was my cue to reveal the fact I had a Prius with 10,000 miles parked in the ramp outside.  Instantly I had the attention of everyone in the vicinity.  Hopefully, I made enough of an impression for some to visit a dealer later.  After 5.5 hours of doing that, I was completely exhausted.  But it was worth it.

3-03-2001

Prius Shirt photo & instructions.  Everything you want to know about the shirt is available on this new page:  shirt

3-02-2001

Stealth at 45 F degrees.  Oh my gosh!!!  It's so easy to drive in stealth-mode, I can't believe it!  Having had so much practice in the extreme winter conditions Minnesota exposed me to, I've apparently learned how to handle the accelerator-pedal quite well.  It's great!  I wonder if my battery-pack energy-potential is different now from Prius in southern regions.

3-01-2001

Created a Prius Shirt.  Since last summer, people have been begging for something Prius related that they could wear.  Well, I took one of my best winter photos and enhanced it so it would look good after being printed onto an iron-on transfer, then ironed onto a piece of clothing, then washed a number of times.  I'm surprised at how well it came out.  Check my website later for instructions and a photo showing what it looks like.

3-01-2001

I'm influencing our children.  As I was driving down the highway, I looked over at the SUV that had pulled along side of me.  There was a young girl with her mouth hanging open.  Even though it was getting dark, I still had the dashboard set to full illumination.  The futuristic features obviously caught her attention!

3-01-2001

Had an Insighting.  As I was walking through a skyway in downtown St. Paul, I noticed a silver Insight parked down on the street.  So I ran outside to see it.  (It's amazing how different that hybrid is from a Prius, but people still insist on comparing them.)  When I finished checking it out, I left a website card with a "hello" message written on the back.

3-01-2001

The Bladder Effect.  I wonder what the heck my next MPG calculation will be... With the temperature significantly increasing now, the bladder in the gas tank (used to prevent fuel vapor) will expand.  That means the next time I fill up, the gas tank will hold more.  "Full" will have a different value.  That will make it look like I got much worse MPG on paper.  But at the same time, the multi-display will show just the opposite: much better MPG, since warm up takes less time now.

3-01-2001

Spring has arrived!  That awful white stuff is finally starting to melt.  It's lighter in the morning & evening, and the singing of birds fills the former silent outside.

2-28-2001

Stealth at 30 F degrees.  Wow!  What a difference the temperature can make.  Achieving stealth-mode (having the engine shut off while driving) is much, much easier now than when it was just 10 F degrees.

2-27-2001

Tire Pressure self-inflated to 38 PSI.  The front tires were filled to 35 PSI, but the temperature fluctuations changed the pressure.  So when I checked, it was higher without having done anything.  The back tires were now at 37 PSI instead of 33 PSI.  But since I like the way the car performs that way, I don't see any reason to change it.  As a result, my MPG should be just a bit better.

2-26-2001

It was soooo smooth, it scared me.  I quickly pushed the accelerator-pedal all the way to the floor to rapidly merge into the exit lane to get off the slow moving highway.  The Prius accelerated so smoothly that I thought I wasn't going to make it.  My brain still expects there to be a loud roar and fierce vibration from the engine.  The Prius isn't like that.  It can do exactly what you need it to do, but the sound & feel is different.  And in my judgment, that difference is a huge improvement over the traditional technology everyone is use to.

2-25-2001

Surprise!  How about some night photos?  I had just barely finished publishing those 15 new photos.  It was late.  Time to escape from the house.  Well, I only got a few blocks when I peered through dark the trees up on the hill.  There was a snowy scene perfectly illuminated by a small street light.  Photo time again.  I turned around and headed back for the camera.  It was definitely worth it:  photo album 13

2-25-2001

15 new clean winter photos.  I washed the Prius then drove directly to the photo locations.  I'll admit that it's really difficult keeping such a dark car sparkling clean during the winter in Minnesota, so this isn't the way you'd normally see it.  But at least I took advantage of that moment.  See:  photo album 12

2-25-2001

Checked the oil.  It still looks brand new, yet it already has 2200 winter miles on it.  Sweet!

2-24-2001

Another sunset photo.  This one is quite different. It was taken a few minutes earlier than the other when the sun was much brighter, and I was directly behind the Prius rather than on the side:  photo album 11

2-22-2001

FIRST CONTACT !!!   It was late, so it was dark. As I was pulling out of the parking ramp on the right, I looked over to the parking ramp on the left and noticed very familiar shaped lights in my side mirror.  IT WAS ANOTHER PRIUS!  I slammed on the brakes, shifted to park, jumped out, then started waving my arms...  She stopped.  I ran over to her, said "Hi", handed her one of my Prius website cards, then asked if she had seen my website.  Jane (it turned out she was the woman I had indirectly met via an email from her husband stating they had bought a Prius from the same dealer as me) asked, "Are you the one?"  (Hmm, what a great question.)  I said, "Yes!" followed by a few nice-to-meet-you comments.  It was so exciting to finally make contact with another Prius owner in person.  Too bad it was too cold to actually do anything more than just briefly chat.  Oh well, spring is on the way.  We'll have an owner gathering eventually.

2-22-2001

80 MPH !  Today I had to emergency accelerate.  Just as I was approaching an 18-wheeler in the middle lane, I was in the left, it had a blow-out in a back tire.  Well, I obviously didn't want to get hit by either pieces of steel-reinforced rubber or the trailer itself.  So I put the pedal all the way to the floor.  (It was the first time I had ever done that!)  Within just a moment I went from 70 to 80 and was safe in front of the truck.  Phew!  It's nice now knowing that the Prius has some punch at the high end too.

2-19-2001

Got a "thumbs up" from someone.  The Prius was sparkling clean still, and the stickers in back were pretty evident.  Apparently, I got noticed.  The guy behind me pulled into the right lane, accelerated, then slowed to my speed when he got directly on my side.  That's when I saw him giving me a thumbs up.  He wanted to make sure I noticed that he noticed.  Cool!

2-18-2001

Ahh! The sunset photo.  I couldn't leave my Prius dirty for too long.  Before I even finished working on the other photos, I had to go out to take some clean ones.  Well, it was warm just long enough to wash it.  Then the temperature plummeted.  But despite the frigid conditions, I got a great sunset photo:  photo album 11

2-18-2001

12 new real winter photos.  Road sand & salt can't be avoided.  As much as I like the showroom perfect looking car, it's just not realistic.  So taking advantage of the beautiful (but bitterly cold) weather two days ago, I ended up with a whole bunch of new photos.  My dirty Prius looks pretty good in the snow-covered scenery.  Ya think?  photo album 11

 

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