Prius Personal Log  #10

June 11, 2001  -  June 30, 2001

Last Updated: Mon. 6/23/2003

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6-30-2001

Kayak on the road.  The exact moment I decided to merge into the heavy 70 MPH lane, to pass the person only going 55 MPH, the minivan I just merged behind suddenly hit the brakes and swerved left.  A kayak, laying sideways, consuming the entire width of a lane, was revealed.  So I swerved right, avoiding it and the person I aggressively merged in front of.  The tires gripped the road wonderfully and the extra weight of the bike hanging off the back didn't even disrupt the balance of the car.  It's nice knowing reliable handling is available in an emergency.  (But in that situation, it does make you wonder who ended up smashing into the kayak.)

6-30-2001

MPG plummeted.  Cruising 120 miles at constant highway speeds in sunny, humid 88 F degree weather with a bike on the receiver-hitch really dropped my average.  Keeping cool and having so much additional drag meant only getting around 38 MPG.  Bummer.  The cruise-control worked great though.  And of course, what other vehicle could get mileage that well under those conditions?

6-30-2001

I was not amused.  The opportunity to give the cruise-control a full workout had arrived.  I was on my way to Northern Minnesota.  It would take about 4 hours of driving.  Great!  Or, so I thought. It took 1.5 hours to get far enough away from the metro traffic before I was able to use the cruise.  A constant speed just wasn't possible until that point.  Fortunately, the Prius thrived on that variety.  So MPG didn't suffer, only me.

6-29-2001

Give your waitress a tip.  Besides leaving money, also leave a card.  And I was planning to do just that today; instead, I gave a card right away and provided an Info Sheet.  She ended up looking out into the parking lot for my Prius shortly afterward.  Boy, that sheet sure is effective in stirring interest.

6-28-2001

Gave an Info Sheet to a stranger.  At the bookstore, a guy caught me thumbing through a car magazine and queried what I drive. Needless to say, we were in the parking lots just a few minutes later.  I was very surprised by how excited he got.  So naturally, I gave him a sheet.

6-28-2001

Receiver-Hitch is now available.  Coastaletech liked my idea.  They are now offering a receiver-hitch.  So rather than an owner having to go through the custom build process like I did, they can simply place an order.  (It's less expensive that way too.)  Cool!

6-26-2001

Info-Sheet.  The internet is great. I created the first draft of a Prius information sheet, then published it and informed the Yahoo Group members.  That resulted in a ton of feedback.  After a couple of days of doing that, we ended up with this great document: info sheet

6-26-2001

30,000 website hits.  Cool!  It kind of gives me an electric feeling.

6-25-2001

97 F degrees at 70 MPH with A/C.  Without question, it is now summer.  Temperature and humidity is way up outside.  But inside my Prius, I'm quite comfortable and very pleased that even under those conditions I can still get around 47 MPG.

6-25-2001

Effortless Stealth.  Wow!  Setting the cruise-control at 38 MPH is really slick.  You can stay in stealth-mode a very long time.  Just coasting silently down the road without even trying is a great sensation.  And if the engine does have to start to climb a hill, it shuts off quickly afterward.

6-23-2001

Cruise-Control on the highway.  The controls for the cruise work just like on any other vehicle, but the end result is much more pleasant.  The smoothness of the hybrid system is apparent when you climb a hill.  The RPM increase of the engine is very subtle.  I'm really looking forward to a loooong driving trip now.

6-22-2001

Prius Everywhere!  What the heck?  I hadn't seen any for weeks, now they're all over.  My brother called me.  He said he just saw a White Prius but was too busy to stop and say "Hi!", since he was on his way to work.  Oh well.  Then when he got to work, he called me again.  He said he was now looking at an Aqua Prius.  Two sightings within just 10 minutes.  Wow!

6-21-2001

Even More Sunset Photos.  This time I angled my Prius toward the digital camera, but it was turned enough so the side could be seen and would be illuminated by the sun.  I left the lights on too, since I didn't was just a silhouette effect this time.  All that was neatly positioned between 3 pine trees.  When the sun finally set, I wasn't disappointed.  I ended up with these 2 spectacular exposures: photo album 18

6-21-2001

Yet another Prius!  As I was approaching the on-ramp, I noticed a familiar shape in the distance.  No one was behind me, so I slowed down then stopped.  Sure enough, it was a Prius driving right at me.  When it got close, they occupants started honking and waving.  Not only did they notice my Prius, they also recognized it from this website.  On the highway, I pulled up next to them on the highway.  They said, "Hi John!" and told me they were getting a second Prius.  Cool!

6-20-2001

Cruise-Control was installed.  I ordered it through the dealer and had them put it in.  The total price (parts, labor, and tax) came to $331.72.  That option was more expensive than the one from coastaletech, but now I'll be able to tell people what the factory available version is like.  I also know more about the shop I take my Prius too.  So far, I'm quite pleased with their service.  As for the operation of the cruise itself, I'll have to use it for a few days before drawing any conclusions.  Stay tuned.

6-20-2001

No!!!  Another Prius!  Except this time I was driving slowly on a residential street.  It would have been soooo easy to take advantage of the tight turning radius to make a U-turn hoping get him to stop and say "Hi".  But no.  I was driving my Taurus, because at that exact moment my Prius was having Cruise Control added at Toyota.  Bummer!  It was my very first Aqua sighting too.  And to make matters worse, I really want to spread the word that several cruise options are now available.  Missing that opportunity was unfortunate.  Unless owners get online, they may not find out about cruise for a long time.

6-19-2001

More Sunset Photos.  It was a calm, beautiful evening, and the cloud were beginning to clear.  So I jumped in the Prius with the digital camera hoping for great formations and colors.  I wasn't disappointed.  There's now a standard, square, and panoramic photo, each has its own distinct look, showing the wonder I witnessed: photo album 18

6-19-2001

Spotted a Prius!  Finally!!  It had been 6 weeks since I had seen another. (This one was silver.)  On a divided highway we passed each other at a combined speed of 140 MPH. Needless to say, the encounter lasted only a brief moment and I don't think she even noticed me.  Oh well. It was still exciting.

6-17-2001

Effortless handling of electric load changes.  While driving in my Taurus, I turned on the A/C.  It made the headlights dim temporarily.  How primitive.  That would never happen in the Prius.

6-17-2001

The eye-sore is gone.  That primer colored receiver-hitch was really irritating.  But once I put new paint on, I would have to wait a few days for it to harden completely.  I don't like missing biking opportunities.  With so few dry, warm, sunny days available, it wasn't until today that the glossy black paint was finally brushed on.  It sure looks nice now.

6-16-2001

He ended up getting out of his car.  I was waved at while waiting at an intersection.  He motioned for me to roll my window down.  When I did, he bombarded me with questions about my hybrid.  I was great!  Well, realizing the light would turn green soon, I tried to say goodbye by offering a website card.  But I couldn't reach him even after sliding into the passenger seat.  So he quickly unbuckled, opened his door, got out, grabbed the card, then thanked me.  I was quite impressed with his determination.

6-16-2001

He stepped out right in front of the Prius.  The Prius lights were shining on his legs in the otherwise dark street, but the stealth still caught him off guard.  So I softly tapped the horn, then stopped and rolled down the window.  He and his friends walked over.  They were impressed with what I showed them.  Then I silently rolled away.

6-16-2001

Slideshow, for all your Prius photos.  My friend Kou pointed out a Windows feature I wasn't even aware of.  It's both entertaining and handy.  And using it is simple.  You just click on a link while viewing a folder of picture files to begin presentation, like a screen-saver.  There are navigation options available too.  Being such a practical tool, I figured some people would like to use this for their Prius photos.  So I created these setup instructions: slideshow

6-15-2001

Great MPG even with the bike-rack.  Last weekend I drove 130 miles with the bike on back, part of it was through a storm too.  Despite that, I still ended up getting 46.8 MPG.  The warmer weather really make does make a difference.  Where I see the biggest improvement is restarting after having went into a store for just 15 minutes.  The engine runs only a few seconds before it shuts off, so I end up leaving the parking lot in stealth-mode.

6-15-2001

Estima, this hybrid minivan was unveiled today.  Now that there are 60,000 Prius on the road around the world, it's time for Toyota to use their well proven technology in another vehicle.  Sales will start in just Japan, but hopefully interest for it will spread to here.  Getting 42 MPG and stealth in a minivan is fantastic.  Plus, Estima even offers a new hybrid option, electric sockets for plugging in household devices.  Cool!

6-14-2001

Crawled underneath to do the first adjustment.  The new oil was a 1/4 inch past the full mark.  (That's quite common from places that squirt oil from a large reservoir rather than using quart sized bottles.)  But since I have changed oil for myself and family for countless years, draining out that small surplus was no big deal.  (In fact, it may have been just an excuse to play underneath.)  I looked for a safe place to set the jack.  Behind the front passenger wheel worked fantastic, easy to reach yet out of the way.  Then when I got down on my back, the fun began.  It was amazing.  The oil pan and oil filter were right there!  Never in my life had I seen anything so convenient.  Wow!  After my 5 free changes are used up, I'll think nothing off doing them myself.  (Of course, every 7500 miles is far more convenient than every 3000 miles anyway.)  Needless to say, it took only a minute to get the oil to the appropriate level.

6-13-2001

100 percent humidity and 88 F degrees.  That's what it was like outside.  Inside it was very comfortable with the A/C lightly blowing.  And to my surprise, the Prius didn't mind at all. I got a very steady 48.5 MPG the entire drive home from work, on both city & highway roads.  The lack of fluctuation is a bit boring, but the performance was great.

6-12-2001

Prius means "to go before" in Latin.  Last week someone pointed out that the motto of Star Trek mentions "to boldly go where no one has gone before" and that it was quite a profound connection having "1701-A" as part of my id.  That really made me think about how things happen sometimes.  I first coined "john1701a" way back in 1993.

6-11-2001

Honking is very effective.  The horn is loud & irritating, exactly the way a warning device should sound.  So I felt really bad when I had to use it just a few feet from a woman on the sidewalk.  She was relaxing reading a newspaper.  A car rounded the corner in front of us so sharply that it ended up in my lane.  To avoid a head-on collision, I was forced to honk.  It worked.  The car missed hitting me by about 1.5 feet.  So I parked, took a moment to be thankful that I wasn't hit, then walked over to apologize to the woman reading the newspaper.  She said it was ok.  I hadn't startled her too bad.

6-11-2001

Summer website card.  It's green outside now.  No more snow & ice for awhile.  MPG is slowly raising along with the temperature.  Time for an update: website cards 2 & web card print

 

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