Personal Log  #11

July 1, 2001  -  July 25, 2001

Last Updated: Sat. 2/15/2003

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ACCIDENT !!!    I smashed into a malfunctioning parking arm.

The wood arm went up, then immediately started coming back down.  At that point, I was already driving forward.  Rapidly stopping a 2,765 pound vehicle to prevent a descending arm, only a few inches away, was impossible.  And odds are, even if I did stop I was probably in the kill-zone anyway; so I would have ended up with a dented hood or a cracked windshield.  The split-second decision was to continue.

There was a horrible crunch.

I stopped, then honked the horn to notify the traffic behind me that there had just been an accident and I wasn't planning on driving any further.  Overwhelmed with reluctance, I opened the door to find out what damage had been caused.  A parking attendant was already there to provide help.

We looked at the Prius in amazement.

The damage from the arm striking the car was only minimal.  (The arm itself had completely broke off from its support and was laying on the ground.)  Inspecting the Prius closely, I saw a 5-inch streak of white paint on the glossy green finish and only a few subtle scratches.  The antenna and door had been entirely missed.

Whoa!  I think I'll count my blessings on this one.  It could have been so much worse!


Hey! How's your mileage? Yo! Hello!  At the stoplight, the guy next to me was screaming!  With the radio blasting a favorite song, I was completely oblivious to his pleas.  Eventually, I looked over and saw arms waving.  He finally got my attention.  I yelled over a reply before the light turned green.  He smiled.


Had to wait for a train.  It was rather emotional.  Having just started the engine, it was still cold.  So it ran while I was waiting.  I was forced to watch the MPG average drop.  Then everything went silent.  Stealth was achieved!  That meant it was time to play!!  I opened the window and got the attention of the passenger in the SUV next to me.  Upon realizing what I was saying, he jumped out and ran to my window.  All of a sudden, I was having a lot of fun waiting for the train to pass.


Heard the engine shut off from outside.  The moment I started the Prius, I realized I had forgotten something.  So I quickly dashed into the house.  Went I stepped out, I heard the engine slow down.  It was preparing to shut off. I waited.  Suddenly everything went silent.  Wow!  It had been a long time since I experienced stealth from the outside.  Now I'm really excited about the Gathering; there will be a whole bunch of silent vehicles all around me.  Sweet!


I'm getting really excited about the Gathering.  So far, it sounds like we'll have 6 Prius and 1 Insight there.  That's pretty good considering how difficult it is to plan events on those precious summer weekends.  As we get closer to the actual day, I'll hopefully hear about a few more attending.  And showing up without an RSVP is fine.  The more the merrier.  Since only a few gatherings have ever taken place in the United States, were making this up as we going.  Planning others should be easier later (especially since there will be more hybrids on the roads then).


No Clicking.  It took until now to realize something was missing.  Shortly after having got my Prius last year, winter set in.  That meant stealth was more difficult to achieve and the crunching of snow & ice keep things from being completely silent.  I did notice one other noise though.  The high-power electric relays would click when they switched modes.  In this extreme heat, no clicking.  I wonder how cold the temperature will be when I start hear a click again?


It's very rewarding.  But trying so hard to provide photos, record data, document my thoughts & experiences, build content for others to share, organize a gathering, while trying not to let it interfere with my work & personal life pushes me to the edge of burnout.  Then I check my inbox.  There's usually a few thank-you emails.  That makes me feel INCREDIBLE!  I get so excited that I'm able to help others with my (yes, I'll admit it) rather nerdy skills.  So thank you everyone.  I'll keep trying.


Better MPG using the A/C.  Wow!  It has been very hot and very humid lately. T hat meant not being able to keep the windows down; something I really enjoy, but it creates drag.  Instead, I've been using the A/C (Air Conditioning).  Fortunately, I hadn't used the hitch with this tank of gas.  That provided the opportunity to more accurately measure these new conditions.  It turns out, I ended up getting 51.6 MPG overall.  That's among my highest results ever.  I'm quite pleased.


Parked next to another Prius.  That same Green Prius has been parking in the area lately.  So today, I parked right next to it and left my email address and an invitation for the Gathering.  I wonder what the owner thought when he or she saw all that?  Maybe I'll find out later.


The Gathering.  It's official. "Go for it!" replies filled my inbox.  So I sent out a real invitation today.  The details haven't been worked out yet, but we now have a date, a time, and a proposed location. Saturday, August 4, starting 5:00 PM, at SES (the School of Environmental Studies) in Apple Valley, Minnesota.


Friday the 13th night photos.  Having wanted to take digital motion exposures for quite some time, I figured this special night would be perfect.  So I grabbed the camera & tripod and jumped in the Prius.  The adventure wasn't disappointing.  I ended up with a pair of just headlights driving by, its car was invisible.  Then there are photos of traffic streaking by my strategically positioned Prius.  And of course, the set wouldn't have been complete without taking advantage of the street lights.  Check'em out:  photo album 20


54.2 MPG after 155 miles.  That's incredible efficiency.  It's the best long distance performance I've experienced so far.  Too bad I plan on taking advantage of the beautiful weather soon.  I'll be putting the bike on the hitch again.  That means the MPG will end up falling below 50.  Oh well.


2 Silver, 1 Green.  I'm walking along a sidewalk in downtown St. Paul.  A Silver Prius suddenly drove by.  I screamed and pointed informing my friend of what had just happened.  She told me to calm down.  I tried.  (It wasn't easy though.)  On the way home, I saw that same Green Prius from the other day again.  I was back to being excited.  Then I saw another Silver Prius drive by.  At that point, I was ecstatic.


Ideal Weather.  Extremely dry with the temperature around 80 F degrees seems to the best conditions for high mileage.  So it's great for a Prius.  (Unfortunately, this weather has been really hard on plants.  All the grass is turning brown.  That makes me very thankful about having taken so many green photos just 2 weeks ago.)  I wonder how long this will last.  Seeing MPG stay above 50 is rather exhilarating.


It finally happened.  I'm cruising along the highway, in the right lane.  In the left lane, a white Corvette flies up to me then slows down to match my speed.  The driver was actually checking out the Prius!  So I slowed down below the speed limit to see what he would do.  He slowed down too!  He stayed beside me for a bit longer, then shot off into the distance.  Having caught his attention really made me feel good about what I was driving.


I get 5 MPG with mine.  That's what the driver of the huge pickup next to me yelled through my window when he pulled up at the intersection.  I looked over at my multi-display and saw the 57.2 MPG average after having driven 46 miles.  That incredible difference left me with no idea how to reply to him.


Saw 2 Prius today.  One was Green, the other was Aqua.


100 days of storage.  A concern for a few individuals is what would happen if you didn't drive your Prius for an extended amount of time.  Now we know.  Jim, a member of the Yahoo Group, did just that. Before leaving, he disconnected the small 12-volt battery.  Upon his return, he reattached it then started his Prius.  Everything was just fine. Neither the 12-volt nor the 273.6-volt HEV battery showed any significant energy loss from that lengthy storage.  Excellent!


There's an Aqua Prius!  I had to stop and leave a note.  So I grabbed an Info Sheet to place under the wiper.  But when I walked behind that Prius, the lights blinked.  That stopped me dead in my tracks.  I turned around and discovered the owners right behind me!  The timing couldn't have been more perfect.  I got to chat with both of them for a little while.  It was great!


18 new SUMMER photos.  Bringing the camera up north really paid off.  I found several bodies of water that I could park the Prius next to.  That provided something new to add to the album.  Of course, I was unable to resist the temptation of slow stealth driving on grass.  (That's really fun!)  So I got a few photos that way too.  And the drive for a photo into a farmer's field was just plain "corny".  That many great summer locations made choosing which photos to publish quite strenuous though.  Eventually, I ended up with these 2 pages: photo album 19  &  photo album 20


I've been toying with the idea.  Having been asked several times about organizing a get-together for hybrids in the area, I sent out an email to find out what others think.


47.8 MPG now.  Seeing the average rise feels good.  The first 70 miles of this tank were driven on that trip.  Only getting around 40 MPG was disappointing.  But since then, I've driven 200 more miles.  My commute and around-town trips obviously yield better results (beyond that of just removing the bike).


Some people have no idea.  I silently roll through parking lots without the Prius getting recognized.  It just gets dismissed as a new car.  They have no idea so much advanced technology just passed them.  Bummer.


Oops!  I'm glad the computer always verifies & regulates requests.  When I met my sister, I quickly got out of the Prius to tell her to follow me.  Running late for the fireworks, I jumped back in and turned the key without thinking.  The multi-display refreshed, but nothing else happened since the car knew it was already on.  Had I been in a traditional vehicle, the starter would have grinded violently.  I'm glad I have a Prius.


He reached the Info Sheet.  I said "Hi" to the passenger in the convertible (with the top down) next to me at the stoplight.  The driver turned down the radio, then I excitedly said "It's pretty quiet without the engine running."  The passenger turned off the radio and curiously said "Huh?"  So I gave my 10-second presentation and held out an Info Sheet.  He reached and was able to barely grasp it with the tips of his fingers.  That worked much better than a tiny website card.  It stimulated interest too.  He was definitely curious about what I was straining to hand him.  Sweet!


473 mile trip.  That adventure up north allowed me to thoroughly try out the cruise-control.  The results proved the addition was well worth it.  I'm also pleased with the receiver-hitch I added.  That whole trip I used it to hold my bike; not having to sacrifice the use of the trunk is quite nice.


It doesn't get as hot.  I pulled off the highway to get food.  (I didn't need gas yet!)  Vehicles also stopping parked next to me.  I noticed sounds coming from them, but not my Prius.  It was their engines cooling from the scorching summer heat.  Not having to deal with that is an unexpected benefit of having a hybrid.  Cool!  (no pun intended)


Missed my exit.  About a half mile ahead of me, I vaguely recognized a familiar shape.  It appeared to be the back of a Prius.  So I allowed myself to drive past my exit.  It was worth it.  When I finally caught up, there was a silver Prius.  I honked and we exchanged waves.


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