Prius Personal Log  #16

October 14, 2001  -  November 3, 2001

Last Updated: Fri. 4/09/2004

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11-03-2001

First Frost.  I saw the first frost this morning.  Thank goodness that isn't a common sight... yet.

11-03-2001

Carpeted Trunk Lid.  Do many new cars have fabric on the underside now or is there only painted metal?  While in the trunk today, I looked up and noticed that.  That isn't something I remember ever seeing in any other car.  Maybe Toyota did that to insure a dead-quiet driving experience and to help insulate the batteries.

11-01-2001

50,000 hits.  The website continues to grow, people keep checking out what's available.  Cool!  I wonder who has more fun?  I really enjoy creating new content, though it does consume a lot of my "extra" time.  So I can't always reply to email as fast as I'd like.  But I try, so keep sending them.  It's really fun hearing from Prius enthusiasts from all over.  (In fact, Rodney & Wayne from New Zealand hinted that they'd really like to get mentioned in my logs.  So, here it is!)

10-31-2001

Hybrids on TechTV.  "Fresh Gear" aired a 4 minute segment on the Prius & Insight today.  It was incredible!  I can't believe how great of a job they did!  You'll be quite pleased if you get to see it!  Several owners were featured, there was a ton of driving footage, a few animated graphics, but the best was the disassembled Prius hybrid components.  We actually get to see the sealed inner THS workings up close.  Sweet!

10-30-2001

"Drive Around" advertisement.  This is the latest in Toyota's Prius marketing campaign.  It's really creative.  I fired up the scanner so you could see it:  ad scans 2

10-30-2001

It feels great to finally catch up.  That archive project put all other website work on hold for what seemed an eternity.  It was worth it.  But publishing this and the 25 log entries below all at the same time was exhausting.  I need a break now.  Maybe I should go for a drive...

10-29-2001

Prius Icon.  A cool new browser feature was introduced awhile back, but I never took advantage of it until today.  It allows webmasters to provide a custom icon for their website.  So whenever someone adds or refreshes their link, an icon (a unique mini-image) is automatically included.  Also, whenever the link is displayed on a button, in a list, or on the address-bar the icon is also shown.  So obviously, the one I created is of a Prius.  (If you'd like to do this for your own website, download a shareware icon-building program to create an image file called FAVICON.ICO.  Then publish it in the root of your domain.  That's it!)

10-29-2001

Dropping gas prices.  Now it's at $1.10 per gallon.  Hopefully, people won't be wasteful because the price is now so low.

10-28-2001

Another Sunset Photo.  I was scouting around for a new photo shooting location this evening and got incredibly lucky!!! I captured a colorful sunset through the (now bare) trees with the Prius very carefully positioned to catch that color:  photo album 24

10-28-2001

New Tire Photos.  I waited until the tires got rotated to take the remaining photos, since being able to turn them makes it much easier to get close-ups with good lighting. 2,428 miles earlier, I had taken photos of the other tires. In summary, they are aging nicely. Other owners have noticed premature wear. I believe the secret to my success is I have chosen to maintain 38-front & 37-back PSI (which I check every 3 weeks or so) rather than the recommended 35/33 and I never, ever turn the wheels when the Prius isn't moving (since rolling greatly reduces friction).  Maybe the very cold winter has something to do with it too, I'm not certain.  Anyway, it appears likely I'll make it through the winter and to 30,000 miles without any trouble:  photo album 22

10-27-2001

After the Gathering.  There were 2 Prius owners, 1 Insight owner, and 1 enthusiastic prospective Prius owner. We chatted for awhile.  That setting (a malt shop) worked well.  Now I'm better informed for the next time.  Learning what's realistic was important.  In Minnesota, you just can't meet at a park and have a picnic, only inside events work from November through March.  An open seating hamburger place, like Fuddruckers, would work great for a gathering setting since any number of people can attend without having to meet at an precise time.  We just pull up another chair or a whole table when someone else stops by, and they can walk up and get food if they're interested.  As for the planning, I got a bunch of requests to setup a date & time well in advance (a month before is about right) then share than info frequently online.

10-27-2001

20,000 messages permanently saved.  The Yahoo Group has been incredibly valuable.  Losing all the information within it would be very unfortunate, so I downloaded the first 20,000 messages.  It took an entire week to individually select and save them, but that 300 MB collection of text was exactly what I needed.  Then I wrote a program to extract the actual content from those complex message pages.  That drastically reduced storage.  Following that, I compressed & bundled all those files in groups of 1000 into ZIP files.  The final overall size ended up only 21 MB.  The thought is this will stimulate even greater participation.  New members needed a convenient way to catch up with the messages they had missed, and senior members have always wanted a very fast way to search all through all that valuable information for things they remember reading about.  The final step is to upload that new archive of files back to Yahoo and create an information & instruction page.

10-26-2001

Zowie!  Holy clean tailpipe, Batman.  While checking the condition of the paint on my receiver-hitch (which looked fine, by the way) curiosity got the best of me.  I shined a flashlight down the tailpipe through the muffler.  It was amazingly clean.  There wasn't a speck of soot to be seen.  The super ultra clean emissions of the Prius along with the low sulfur gas I use has yielded very impressive results.

10-26-2001

Checking the tires.  It happens almost every time, today was no different.  (Of course, maybe I do it intentionally.  Hmm?)  I pull up to the air-pump and get out to tell the person using it that there's no need to hurry, since I'm only using electricity anyway.  That stops them dead in there tracks.  They suddenly lose interest in their car and walk over to see the Prius.

10-26-2001

Before the Gathering.  Tomorrow is the day.  So far I've received a few regrets thanking me for keeping them in the loop and telling me maybe next time will work.  That's encouraging, especially since I never had a chance to publish an invitation on my website.  Maybe this marks the start of a local group?  Some other states are attempting the same thing.  Who knows?

10-26-2001

Brilliant Blue Pearl.  As I was leaving the dealer, I got a surprise.  There was a Blue Prius along with an Aqua & Silver.  Seeing 3 Prius all at the same was exciting, but the "new" color really got me going since that was actually the second time I had seen it (or a very similar shade).  The first was April 1, 2000 at the Auto Show.  There was a Japanese 2000 (right-hand drive) model on display, hinting to the American on-lookers what was soon to come.  Photos of that one are on photo album 1

10-26-2001

"Air" filter mix-up.  Bummer.  Not all went well for the routine 22,500 mile service.  That's the interval traditional vehicles have their engine air filter replaced.  So they didn't even question which filter when "air" was listed on the work request.  It turns out that one doesn't need to be replaced until 30,000 miles.  The "air" filter this time was suppose to be for the air-conditioner.  So when I went back, they apologized, got the correct replacement for me, and updated their instructions to avoid that mix-up in the future.  Then I had a choice: put the original engine air filter back in my Prius (if they could find it in the trash and it wasn't damaged) or pay for the new one.  It was very busy.  I didn't feel like waiting.  It was only $16.99.  So I paid that and figured I'll deal with the free warranty-covered replacement at 30,000 miles.  Oh well.

10-26-2001

22,500 mile service.  It's really fun!  Too bad car care wasn't always so simple.  Right now, I'm writing this while waiting at the dealer for the routine service to be completed.  I drove up.  They printed the paperwork.  It stated everything that needed to be done and the fact that the work was completely covered under the warranty.  (Free is always nice!)  This dealer is quick, friendly, well informed, and does great work.  Unfortunately, not all Prius owners are so blessed.  Some dealers haven't made as strong of a commitment to the new technology... yet.  So things like tire and oil care are misunderstood.  (Tire pressure should be carefully maintained at a minimum of 38F/37R PSI and oil & filter changes are only needed every 7,500 miles.)

10-24-2001

SNOW!!  Winter has arrived.  And it didn't appear gracefully.  Instead of the usual first snowfall, a mere flake or two, it flurried hard.  Luckily, the ground is still too warm for accumulation.  And fortunate for me, I still have a new batch of Fall Prius Photos to publish.  The thought of them will remind me of that beautiful, very brief season while I'm scraping snow & ice off the windows of the Prius.  I guess incredible MPG will be just a memory now.  (Of course, I'll still get better MPG than all the non-hybrids!)

10-24-2001

Pushing 55 MPG.  I started my drive to work early this week.  That meant much heavier commuter traffic.  Slowing down from 70 MPH increases MPG.  But spending so much more time below 30 MPH pushed the great performance even higher.  When I arrived at work today, the multi-display stated 54.8 MPG after 105 miles.  Other Prius owners commonly see numbers like that.  For me, it's a rare event.  I wonder how long it will last?

10-23-2001

October 2001 Minnesota Gathering.  I sent out an invitation for a quick, simple, informal gathering next week.  Hopefully the short notice and location will work well.

10-22-2001

Up & Down gas prices.  I watched it drop to $1.12 per gallon.  It stayed there for a few days, then suddenly jumped to $1.26.  No one knows why.  And the local news stations were reporting an additional unexplained 10 to 15 cent increase.  With an industry so mature, doing the same thing for decades, why do prices fluctuate so much?  Thank goodness owning a Prius, which gets over double the national MPG average (currently 20.4), means you get the opportunity to wait for better prices.

10-19-2001

Graham's Prius Website  http://home.earthlink.net/~graham1/Prius/Prius.htm  Until now, I was the alone.  There were a bunch of cool owner websites showing off the Prius they're so proud of, but each was small.  Today though, his site debuted.  He's a very active participant on the Yahoo Groups who, like me, thought it would be a good idea to summarize the information we've collected and organize it into web pages.  And he did just that.  Good job Graham!!

10-19-2001

Avoiding door-dings is easy.  Prius is unusually short.  That design offers not only a very tight turning radius, it also has another advantage.  When you angle park and pull all the way forward, the doors of larger vehicles sit far enough back that there's no way they can make contact with your Prius.  It's great!

10-18-2001

Spoiled by the Multi-Display.  Having vehicle information always available is addicting.  I love it!  And now my MP3 player has a display too.  So when I'm clicking the track button on the player, each of the 140 songs on my MP3 format CDs show artist & title information.  It's fantastic!  Too bad the old-fashion music CDs & Players don't offer that.  Seeing only a track number is very disappointing now.

10-18-2001

Another Aqua Prius.  This was one I hadn't ever seen before.  There was a large yellow sticker on the back bumper.  Too bad I couldn't get close enough to read it.  I was very curious what a hybrid owner would choose to display.  And yes, I honked and flashed my lights, but it didn't get the driver's attention.

10-18-2001

That Aqua Prius.  I saw it again.

10-17-2001

Setup an appointment for the Prius.  It's almost time for the free routine 22,500 mile service.  Toyota will replace the oil, oil filter, air-conditioner filter, as well as do an inspection, and rotate the tires.  I'll make sure they swap the best tire (currently located in the passenger-back) with the most worn (driver-front).  That will provide great traction for the winter and will help guarantee even wear among all the tires.  The other two tires I don't have to worry much about, their tread is almost identical.  Overall, it looks like I'll make it to the anticipated 30,000 mile mark without any trouble.

10-16-2001

Better quality TV Commercial.  I kept trying.  That original analog VHS source was disappointing.  Tonight, I finally got a direct digital capture. With it I was able to squeeze quite a bit more data into a file only 29KB larger.  The quality is noticeably better (less distortion from compression) and I was able to eliminate the rainbow-colored pulsing on the bottom.  Just go to this page to download the new version:  video files

10-14-2001

Sunset Photo.  The turbulent Fall weather created a great sunset opportunity, which I almost missed.  Fortunately, I got to the right place at the right time with the Prius and digital camera.  See:  photo album 24

10-14-2001

The Toyota Camry.  She pulled up behind me, then got very excited.  The Prius definitely got her attention.  So much so, I bet if I would have stopped, she also would have.  But I was late.  A gorgeous sunset was about to take place and I was still down in the valley, too low to see it.  So when I reached the 4-lane thruway, I punched the accelerator to the floor.  The Camry driver panicked when I disappeared into the distance.  Noticing she was trying to catch up, I slowed down.  She almost shot past me.  We both adjusted our speeds so we could see each other.  That resulted in a thumbs up and big smile from her.  It was quite a thrill!

 

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