Prius Personal Log  #26

April 16, 2002  -  April 27, 2002

Last Updated: Sat. 5/24/2003

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4-27-2002

Ahhhhhhhhh!  All I could do was sit there and watch the horror unfold.  At the gathering, the time I chose to move my Prius couldn't have been worse.  A test-drive Prius had just approached, so my left side was blocked.  On the right was the barriers to keep the non-hybrid traffic out.  At that exact moment, I heard a terrifying noise.  It was a barrier flying my direction from the suddenly increased winds.  The thing missed and stopped directly behind my Prius.  That was a bit too close for comfort.  Then came the other.  This one flew directly at me.  The leg landed in between the tire and the wall of the wheel-well.  It had actually penetrated the "personal space" of my Prius without striking it.  Wow!  Of course, I didn't know that.  So I screamed after hearing the sound stop.  Bob came running my way with a very shocked looked on his face.  As if I wasn't already overly stimulated already, that really put me over the edge.

4-27-2002

Massive Back Seats.  Push the Prius front seats all the way forward.  The space created in back is amazing.  I had no idea that area of the car could become so big.  We needed to seek warm, dry, windless refuge from the "less than ideal" gathering conditions to work on hybrid handout materials.  That was perfect!

4-27-2002

Gathering Regrets.  For those of you that sent me an email saying you'd be there, but then didn't attend due to the nasty weather, don't feel bad.  Having more hybrids there would have been great; however, now we have even more of an excuse to arrange another gathering.  This next one is bound to have better weather too (since I can't think of conditions much worse than what we've already experienced).  Hope to see you then... 

4-27-2002

April 2002 Gathering.  Participation was great!  Weather was awful.  23 hybrids were there overall (from 10:00 to 4:00), but so was the rain & snow.  There was also a car converted to Electric, a FFV (Flexible Fuel Vehicle), and a promotional vehicle for low sulfur gas.  Plus, the public was invited.  This gathering was quite unique.

A Toyota dealer had 3 Prius available for test-drives.  That made things really weird.  I'm so used to getting really excited whenever I see a Prius on the road.  Having 1 drive by every few minutes caused me to learn restraint quickly.

A Honda dealer had 2 Insights and 2 Civic-Hybrids there.  1 of each was available for test-driving.  The Insight only got used a few times, but that Civic-Hybrid was running almost constantly.  I saw that new looks-like-a-traditional-vehicle hybrid drive by so many times I will now be able to spot it in traffic fairly easy from the front.

Owners showed true Minnesota spirit.  2 Insights and 14 Prius stopped by, despite the horrible weather.  9 went out of their way to pose their hybrids for some photos, the rest were busy participating in other parts of the Expo.  We really appreciate the help everyone was able to offer.  Each did their part to make the experience enjoyable.  Naturally, there was a lot of story swapping among the owners.  Hearing all that is becoming even more fun now with mileage becoming more diverse.  An owner had a Prius with only 868 miles on it, mine had 30,074 miles.  And I can't imagine how exciting it was for the public attending.  Seeing a parking lot filled with hybrids, then having a dealer offer the opportunity for a test-drive, must have been incredible.

The weather was, well... absurd.  We started with very cold rain.  The few of us controlling traffic got soaked, but seeing so many hybrids kept us feeling good.  Around 1:00 we setup for the photos.  It dried out just in time, but got even colder.  The pleasant attitude continued though.  That excitement was surprising, you'd think the fact that it was a warm & beautiful the day before would make this disappointing.  Then it got worse.  It started to snow!  When the white nasty stuff started to build up on the windshields, we decided it was time to thank everyone and head out.  Hours later the ground was completely covered with snow.  Whoa!

So now we've had one gathering where we froze and one where we melted.  Do you think we'll be able to plan the next with weather somewhere in between those two extremes?

Thank you to everyone that attended.
 

4-26-2002

Tires at 30,050 miles.  I officially made it to the life expectancy just fine.  The tread depth is mostly 3/32" with a few spots at 2/32".  Replacements will be of the more affordable type, in a month or two.  A few owners have proven that the more expensive alternatives tires, like the Michelin X-One for $89.99, work great on the Prius.  But $54.99 is a more typical price that people expect to pay for a tire, so that's what I'll be providing real-world data for.  The Goodyear Allegra has caught my eye.  Anyone have a better suggestion?

4-26-2002

It really was broken.  When I stopped at the gas station today, that pump from the previous fill was covered with an out-of-order sign.  So my bizarre up & down statistics were the result of pump sensor problems.  Thank goodness things like that have no effect on Lifetime MPG, everything gets averaged together and balances out.

4-25-2002

7 different Prius in 5 days.  Now I'm seeing more than one per day on the road with me.  Cool!

4-23-2002

30,000 mile service.  It was no big deal for me today!  I dropped off my Prius at 8:00 am, then drove away with it at 12:30 pm.  There weren't any complications at all.  They followed my request to not rotate the tires (since they will be replaced within a month or two and the best tread is already in front).  And I was even provided a free engine air-filter (to compensate for the previous service, see my 10-26-2001 log entry for details).  Everything was done correctly, in a timely manner, with pleasant attitudes, and I wasn't charged anything for it.  Gotta love it!!!  Here's what they did:  maintenance 1

4-23-2002

Happy Earth Day (again).  Yesterday, a number of people asked me why I didn't do anything special for Earth Day.  My reply was that when you own a Prius, every single day of the year is "Earth Day".  They liked that!

4-23-2002

Alarm Triggering.  Sometimes I use the key rather than the remote to unlock my Prius.  That's no big deal.  The system knows when you lift the handle after unlocking not to sound the alarm.  My Taurus (the car that has kept me in check with how traditional vehicles perform, but I'll be selling soon) isn't that smart.  After turning the key this morning, I lifted the handle.  That resulted in a loud & nasty alarm noise.  I hadn't realized until that point that my Prius knew not to do that.  In fact, my Prius might be a bit smarter than me.  It had to teach me not to open a locked door by reaching in through an open window to use an inside handle.  Doing that triggers the alarm.

4-21-2002

New Card.  29,673 miles have been driven now.  Time for a new Prius Website card to help with promotion.  The large color photo accompanied by simple information on front along with the statistics & graph on back still gets people really excited when I tell them they can keep it.  Here's what the new one looks like:  website card 4   And here's how I make them:  card print

4-20-2002

Gas Station Woes.  That figures.  I was soooo excited about achieving my first 50 MPG tank of the year, it really doesn't surprise me much that a problem occurred.  While filling up, I suddenly heard a strange noise coming from the pump.  It kind of sounded like the sensor was confused whether or not it should shut of the pump.  Then when I looked down, it appeared as though I hadn't pushed the nozzle in far enough.  So I lurched out at it.  That stopped the gas.  I think my inattentiveness messed up the measurement.  Now I won't ever know what the MPG was.  But if too much gas really was pumped, the next tank should be well above average.

4-20-2002

Now that was fun!!  I stopped at the local Toyota dealer today, parking next to the 3 Prius they had there.  That immediately caught the attention of the people shopping.  A guy walked up to me and asked if I remembered him.  (I didn't without a subtle reminder.)  2 months earlier we had chatted at the barber shop about the Prius and I made such an impression that he decided to check it out at the dealer.  Cool!  And then it got even better.  I wanted to look at the new model Corolla (thinking that years from now all Toyota vehicles will be available in hybrid), so I parked my Prius over in the customer area.  People walked over there to continue checking it out.  I guess they were really impressed to see a well broken-in one rather than something still in showroom condition.  And at close to 30,000 miles, I'm quite pleased with how perfect everything looks & works still.

4-20-2002

Breakaway Cup-Holder.  I learned the hard way what happens when a heavy purse is thrown over the front seat to the back.  Landing on the cup-holder causes it to pop right off the center storage-bin.  I was shocked (and upset) to see it sheared clean away.  But upon close inspection, nothing appeared broken.  Then I discovered the metal piece in the middle was actually a latch spring.  Pushing the spring while shoving the whole assembly against the storage-bin popped it back into place.  Now it works just like before.  Wow!

4-20-2002

5-minute segments of 60 MPG.  I was traveling on a flat, straight, 2-lane, 55 MPH highway.  Traffic was too heavy to use cruise-control.  But it was a beautiful (but cold) nearly windless day though, so the drive among so many vehicles close together would still be pleasant...  Then I noticed what was happening on the multi-display.  The mood changed to excitement!  I wondered if the 2 consecutive 5-minute segments of 60 MPG would be followed by another.  They were!  Then another!  And still another!!  Would there be sixth?  That would fill the entire multi-display with 60 MPG segments making for a fantastic photo opportunity.  Sure enough, it happened!!!  I quickly got off the road, grabbed my digital camera, then arranged my jacket over myself and the dashboard for optimal close-up lighting.  A wonderful photo resulted.  You can now see what I did at the bottom of this page:  photo album 29

4-19-2002

No Drilling in Alaska.  The proposal to get new oil from our protected wildlife areas up north was defeated yesterday.  Thank goodness!  That was a total waste.  Using hybrids as a solution is a much better choice, especially when you consider the fact that drilling setup takes 7 years and an obscene amount of financing.  Imagine how many hybrids will be on the road by 2009, now that simply increasing supply isn't considered a good idea anymore.

4-18-2002

Huge Doors.  For playing in the pool, we bought a vinyl blow-up ball so big it just barely fits through doorways in the house.  Blowing it up took forever, so transporting it to the pool as-is was very important.  To our delight, it fit right through the back door in the Prius.  That was amazing!  (I was actually kind of pessimistic about a huge object like that fitting.)  It makes me wonder how many other cars can accommodate that.  Hmmm?

4-17-2002

Temperature Experiments.  I was driving straight north.  I had just filled the tank.  The temperature started at 81 F degrees further south and was dropping as I continued.  It was 72 F degrees at that point.  So I decided to measure the effects on MPG.  With the air-conditioner running (having Minnesota Winter blood still, that's pretty hot in the Spring for me), I drove 10 miles with the cruise-control set at 63 MPH (the efficiency sweet-spot for Prius high speeds).  That bumped the starting MPG from 53.1 to 53.5 overall on the Multi-Display.  So I shut off the air-conditioner.  By a stroke of luck, the temperature dropped to 66 F degrees very quickly after that.  Perfect.  10 miles of driving after produced a 51.5 MPG readout.  I was totally impressed.  Warmer conditions with the A/C on actually produced better results.

4-17-2002

Like Butter.  It was 81 F degrees.  That was just barely warm enough to give me a taste of the stuff dreams are made of.  Stealth is so incredibly easy to drive in when temperatures are that warm it's wonderful.

4-17-2002

Materials for the Gathering.  Wanting everything to be as up-to-date as possible, I've been tweaking some of our Prius documents.  Now the 2 favorites reflect the latest-and-greatest facts available:  info-sheet   user-guide

4-16-2002

Role Reversal.  I stealthily rolled through the dealer's lot looking at used car offerings (research is continuous).  That drew the attention of a salesperson.  He walked over and stuck his head in my open window on the passenger side, then proceeded to ask me questions... only they were about the Prius, not the cars I had been looking at.  I ended up doing a quick sales pitch for hybrid technology.  The appeal is growing.  Marvelous!

4-16-2002

That photo is a Prius!  I was doing more auto research.  This time I was surfing websites trying to price my old Taurus.  Out of the blue, there was a photo of a Prius.  It was just mixed in among all the resource links.  There wasn't even a label specifying it was a hybrid.  For the uninformed, I suppose those that see it would think it's just another nice looking new car.  Apparently, that once odd looking form is beginning to become more mainstream.  Sweet!

4-16-2002

70,000 hits.  That number only provides a vague reference of website activity, but it's at least something.  This entry provides a marker for time-intervals.  It's helpful, but no where near as valuable as the feedback I get from emails & gatherings.  Thanks to those of you that provide personal comments.

 

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