Personal Log  #12

July 26, 2001  -  August 11, 2001

Last Updated: Sat. 9/14/2002

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She smile as she approached.  The car she was in pulled up behind me at the gas station.  When she got out to fill up, she hollered asking what I thought of my Prius.  I walked over and offered a website card.  That made it obvious I was quite pleased.  Then she said she had considered a Prius, but found it too small for 4 people and a 100 pound dog.  I agreed, then mentioned the Estima now available in Japan.  The thought of a 4-wheel-drive hybrid-electric minivan got her excited.  (So Toyota, when will you start selling the Estima here in the United States?)


My car is electric too.  That's what I yelled to them.  There was a golf-cart built to look like a classic car on the path next to the road. I couldn't resist.  When I stopped, there was total silence.  The Prius wasn't making any noise, and neither were they.  Finally, one of them replied (in a bit confused manner).  I responded saying it was a hybrid.  That got their attention!  So I offered an Info Sheet and a website card.  Then after answering a number of questions, I drove away in stealth-mode.  That allowed me to overhear the remark, "I can't believe how quiet it is!"


20 degrees cooler and much less humid.  That's the forecast for tomorrow.  Bummer.  The extreme conditions last week prevented some owners from attending the gathering.  This saturday would have been better.  Oh well.


Gathering Photos !!!  Now you can see what we did:  photo album 21


3000 miles later. At this point in a traditional vehicle, the oil would need to be changed.  I just checked the condition of the oil in the Prius, it still looks new after driving 3,000.  Being able to go 7,500 miles between changes sure is nice; it's more convenient and reduces waste.


Cool!  There's a Silver Prius.  As I'm pulling into my usual parking spot, I glanced to right.  Sitting there for all to see was another Prius.  So I grabbed an Info Sheet and was about to write "Hi" on the back of one of my website cards when I saw the owner approaching.  He figured out what was doing on really quick once he noticed I had a Prius too.  It was fun getting to chat with another owner again.


Took the local roads home.  Lengthy drives on 45-50 MPH, hilly, 4-lane, residential thru-ways is really different from the 55-70 MPH highways I'm used to.  MPG is much better.  Even with nearly 400 miles on this tank, I was still able to watch the average quickly rise.  Too bad I don't always drive that way.


Racing to the stoplight.  That's really starting to become a pet-peeve since I catch up anyway. Seeing the light red and stopped vehicles doesn't even slow some people down. They proceed at full speed then hit the brakes at the last moment. When no one is behind me, which is common in the evening, I remove my foot from the accelerator-pedal and let the regenerator slow down the car. That prevents the need for much braking, takes the same amount of overall time, and (of course) saves gas.


Monthly MPG average went down in July.  Using the air-conditioner quite a bit took its toll. I had a feeling it would (hence my calculation delay).  Oh well.  45.3 MPG is still a pretty decent average.


Temperature & Humidity has been awful.  We broke a record at 98 F degrees today.  Tomorrow the temperature is expected to exceed 100 F.  That would be tolerable if is wasn't so humid.  The extra moisture in the air makes things miserable, it pushes the heat-index to around 110 F.  A cold bottle of water can accumulate a layer of condensation on it within just seconds.  Needless to say, the Prius air-conditioner has been getting quite a workout lately.  It's really "cool".


Oops!  I overshot the bus.  As I was driving along, a bus slowly passed by.  It gave me a creepy feeling.  I felt watched.  Sure enough.  The back of the bus revealed four guys waving at me.  They were motioning for me to catch back up.  I hesitated.  They kept waving even as the distance became too far.  So I decided to humor them.  I dropped the pedal to the floor.  Whoa!  I zoomed right pass the bus.  The acceleration was more brisk than I expected.  Oops! 


JOHN1701A.COM   It's finally ready, uploads are all complete.  So I just made the announcement and pulled the plug on my old URL.  The final counter value was 34,693.  This change adds quite a bit more server-space.  Having to hold back was really a pain.  Now I have some room to play.  (That's a scary thought!)


The Gathering.

It was time.  The day had arrived.  I was so excited !!!  I was running a little behind schedule, but everything was finally setup.  All I needed to do at that point was jump in the Prius and drive there.  Ahh!

I only got a few blocks before passing an Aqua Prius on the side of the road.  That was my cue.  I pulled over and said "Hi".  They were on their way to the gathering too, but had lost the person following them.  So I said I'd see them in a few minutes and continued my drive.

I turned off the street and entered the parking lot.  In the distance, there were a bunch of hybrids.  Despite the heat, a number of owners still attended.  What I saw made me feel great!  In total, we had 9 Prius and 2 Insights.  And 2 owners were from out-of-state, Wisconsin & Illinois.

It began.  Everyone wanted to share stories, that was pretty obvious.  So we all gathered in the shade and visited.

After about 30 minutes, we decided it was time to line up the hybrids.  The choice was to line them up in a semi-circle facing the sun.  That worked out fantastic.  A bunch of us attacked that photo-perfect scene with our cameras.  (I can't wait to publish what I took!)  We spent an hour walking around the cars and swapping more stories.

The time had come for some to say goodbye, the remaining decided to drive to an air-conditioned restaurant.

When we got there, 4 Prius parked right next to one and other.  As I was getting out of mine, a guy yelled over saying all those cars together like that looked suspicious.  I told him we were having a gathering.  He smiled.  The next comment came from the Prius driver behind me.  He noticed that all kinds of people had pointed to my Prius (specifically the glittering HYBRID ELECTRIC stickers) as we drove.  It was exciting for him to see that.  I wish I could sometime.  It would be interesting to see how much else happens around me as I drive by (silently).  The term "hybrid" is starting to take meaning.

In the restaurant, we ate and talked.  It was great.  All owning hybrids gave us a unique perspective, something we could only relate with each other.  Once we left, we'd be alone again.  And that time, unfortunately, came all too quick.  We had to say goodbye.

In the parking, the 4 of us parked together decided to chat for awhile longer.  It was finally cool out and I had chilled beverages in the coolers still.  That was fun.  But it ended quickly too.

At 10:30, we parted.  That was the last we'd see each other in person for a long time, but fortunately we'll be just a few clicks away online.

Thank you
to everyone that attended.  You created memories that I'll cherish for a long time.


JOHN1701A.COM   It's recognized as a domain now.  My new website is official.  Too bad I don't have much content loaded yet.  That's ok.  It's just enough for me to announce my URL to those attending the Gathering and to change the Info-Sheet & Card links before printing a whole bunch.


Got my new IP address.  The web domain name wasn't recognized yet, but I could access my new site using the numeric reference.  So I did.  I began by converting the original parsed content into a true website.  That went fairly quickly.  But then came the uploading process.  Since I'm using software so new, the server files needed for ftp publishing are still in beta-testing.  Not available meant I had to upload via http instead, one file at a time.  It would take several days.  I was so excited that didn't matter.


There's a White Prius stuck in traffic.  It was hopelessly waiting for a long light in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  I was walking on the sidewalk next to it.  That became an opportune location for me to cross the street.  After walking in front of the Prius, I came around and knocked on the driver's window with one hand, the other hand was proudly displaying a card.  I said that was a photo of my Prius.  That got her attention!  I motioned for her to open the window just enough for me to slip in the card.  She had already figured out that I was friendly (thank goodness) and opened the window all the way.  I handed her the card and said it was nice to meet her.  She replied with a thank you.  The light turned green, and the Prius silently rolled away.


Prius Withdrawal.  I was sick, so sick I couldn't drive.  Over 3 whole days!  It was the longest I had went without using the Prius.  Bummer.


New Prius Website Card.  I really like this one. Again it includes my bike on back, but this time the Prius is by water. My purchase date (9/9/2000) has been added with the hope of people figuring out the my Prius has already been through one Minnesota winter. I'm quite pleased with the 43.8 MPG average (over 17,777 miles), but that is rather low compared to what owners in southern states get. Check it out: website card 2


It wouldn't lock.  After parking, I jumped out of the Prius and pressed the lock toggle on the door. The latch went to the lock position then immediately back to unlock. Maybe I didn't make good contact and ended up pushing both sides. No big deal, I'd just use the button on the remote instead. But when I tried, the same thing happened. That wasn't a good sign. Something really was wrong. I tried again. It didn't lock and the lights didn't flash. What was the problem? I gave up and got back inside the Prius. The multi-display was on. I looked over at the ignition and noticed the key was still there. Oops! I had forgotten to shut off the car. (It's too easy to do when you can't hear anything running.) Thank goodness it was smart enough to prevent me from locking myself out. I'm glad the Prius pays closer attention than I do.


Renewed my license tabs.  So now you'll see yellow instead of red in my new photos.


17,777 miles.  The next fill up is what I was planning to use for the statistics on my newest website card. I would stop at the gas station on the way home from a rather busy Friday night, then create the card on Saturday. The fact that I just happened to hit such an incredibly cool number is an amazing coincidence. Really!


Appreciated the special wipers.  I got stuck in a heavy downpour of rain on a nasty stretch of highway. There's a huge advantage in fact that the blade for the driver-side wiper is almost 7 inches longer than the passenger-side. That offsets the runoff from the passenger wiper so in doesn't interfere with the driver's view straight forward. I really like that. It's a safety feature that most people could easily overlook when considering a Prius.


Feed a wild turkey from my Prius window.  Driving on the private SES road to checkout the Twin Cities Gathering location again, I encountered a wild turkey. I decided to try to slowly & silently roll close up to her. It worked! The turkey ended up right next to my open window. I was amazed that the stealth would allow me to do that. So I reached into the storage area under my arm rest, pulled out a granola bar, then handed a chunk of it to the turkey. I was a bit upset that I didn't have my camera with me. She was very happy for the free meal. Who knew I'd be able to get so close?


Polishing Compound.  That did the trick. (Thanks Dad!) The white paint from the accident is gone. Now all that's left are some minor scratches, which will hopefully be concealed with a thick layer of polish.


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