Personal Log  #13

August 12, 2001  -  September 7, 2001

Last Updated: Fri. 4/09/2004

    page #12         page #14         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 



There's an Aqua Prius!  I saw it approaching, so I honked.  No one noticed me.  I took advantage of the tight turning radius and made a U-turn.  When I caught up, we had the stoplight to ourselves.  They still weren't paying attention.  I honked "shave and a hair cut".  Finally, everyone (simultaneously) in that Prius looked over.  They were all shocked after discovering the sound was coming from another Prius.  I waved.  Their dropped mouths quickly converted to smiles full of delight.  The light turned green.  I drove away.  Still being a bit stunned, they didn't move for a moment.  I bet they'll talk about that brief & unexpected encounter for awhile.


27 benefits of super-ultra-low emissions.  The Minnesota State Fair had an incredible collection of fragile, beautiful flowers, among the very things our children will never get to enjoy if we don't start reducing emissions.  Prius is a great solution to that dilemma.  I captured what I saw with the digital camera.  Here's the 27 best photos:  gallery 4  &  gallery 5


What the heck?  As I was attempting to merge onto the busy highway, something non-traffic related caught my eye.  All the vehicles were moving smoothly despite the heavy congestion, so there didn't seem to be any danger.  It just appear out-of-the-ordinary.  When I finally got a chance to check what it was, I discovered a passenger leaning out of a pickup window giving my a big "thumbs up".  He got really excited when I returned the gesture.  Having a hybrid is great!!  It has exactly the opposite effect of "road rage".  Total strangers are happy to see you!


My best tank ever?  52.4 MPG after 239 miles.  The cooler September temperatures make my Prius very happy.  Without changing my driving pattern at all, I'm getting this great performance.  It's a very welcome treat... knowing that the worst of Minnesota Winter will eventually force MPG below 40.  Ick!  Of course, that's still much better than any traditional car can get (and much cleaner too).


Whoa!  They were a little excited.  The Prius was parked next to the sidewalk where people were drinking their coffee.  I was inside to getting a dry cappuccino.  When I walked out, 4 people looked right at me.  They wanted to know about the hybrid.  I was more than happy to indulge.  They were pleased with all the info I provided.  Then came the comment, "too bad it isn't available as a minivan".  When I responded, "well actually it is, just not here yet".  That really raised the excitement level even higher.  It was really fun!


Almost no brake dust.  It was pointed out on the Yahoo Group that the Prius wasn't only clean because of such low emissions, it was also clean because you don't use the brakes much.  So it looks better too.  There's no dark build up on the rims like with traditional vehicles.  The reason for that is a majority of the slowing is done by the regenerator, not the discs brakes.  That keeps things clean as well as significantly extending the life of the brake pads.


On the back of the Prius Website Card.  With almost a whole year of information now, I have lots to share.  And since the card has been so well accepted, I thought that would be the ideal place to do it.  So I added a table of data and a graph to the back.  website card 3


The cards disappeared fast!!  I was at the Minnesota State Fair the other day.  There was a White Prius on display.  They had the hood open and handouts were placed on the engine.  So, out of curiosity, I tossed a few of my cards next to the handouts.  They were gone within moments.  Without even saying anything or identifying that I owned a Prius, on-lookers snatched up every card.  That was cool!  (But it made me wish I had a lot more with me.)  In fact, it was so impressive to see that response, that was what inspired me to put something on the back.


Acceleration isn't an issue.  People keep commenting that the Prius hybrid design would make it slow.  They are under the impression that electric motors offer a lot of torque but no zip.  I definitely don't agree.  Whenever I accelerate using the multi-display as an efficiency guide, I typically leave everyone in the dust.  I'm usually several car-lengths in front.  Getting great performance without compromise isn't a myth; quick, efficient, and clean are all possible in the Prius.


Having the engine already off is handy.  Dealing with a broken garage door opener could have been a pain.  That meant driving out, putting the car in park, closing the garage door manually, then entering and exiting through the regular house door while unlocking and locking it.  That takes time.  I don't like the idea of leaving a car running unattended or leaving the key in the ignition while doing all that.  But it was different with the Prius.  When backing out, the engine shut off.  That made the decision to remove the key simple.  So I did.


Wow!  That could have been awful!!  Today the 18 year old screws connecting my garage door to the opener couldn't take the weight strain anymore.  When I pushed the button, they tore right through the thick, tough metal.  Fortunately, the Prius wasn't underneath.  Imagine if that heavy door would have come crashing down on it!


$1.89 per gallon.  Now gas is even higher.  It kind of makes you wonder what will happen next.


Trunk is much bigger than it looks.  When I was setting up for the Gathering, we had 3 large coolers that had to be put somewhere in the Prius.  To my surprise (since I had never actually tried it), they all fit in the trunk without any problem.  In fact, there was quite a bit of room still available behind, on top, and on the sides.  That experience was so impressive it needed to be documented.  There are now 2 very easy to compare photos.  One shows the coolers outside the trunk, and the other shows them in (plus both have soda pop cans on top to provide a size reference):  photo album 20


2002 Prius arrives.  The first owner reported delivery today.  Year #2 begins.  Just like with new technological standards in the computer industry, that expected "it will be common in 4 years" seems to be destiny for Prius too.  DVD was introduced exactly 4 years ago.  Now it is inexpensive and available everywhere; some systems even allow you to record.  The next 3 years will be really fun.  I'm already starting to enjoy how people now understand what a hybrid is.  And occasionally I see another on the road.  We're making progress.


Obviously my Prius was his first hybrid sighting.  I looked over.  There was a man very, very excitedly waving.  He wanted me to notice that he noticed I was in a hybrid.  And I did.  Unfortunately, he kind of forgot he was still going 65 MPH on the highway.  Suddenly he drifted into my lane right at me.  I was forced to do an emergency swerve into the lane next to me to avoid getting rammed.  That was a little too close. 


Tread Depth after 18,875 miles.  Holding that brand new, never used spare next to the Prius tires, it does in fact appear as though I will make it to 30,000 miles before needing replacements.  Good.


Now I have a FULL-SIZE Spare Tire.  I travel occasionally.  Having a real replacement tire readily available, rather than a tiny temporary, is handy.  Yes, the odds of actually getting a flat is fairly rare, but what the heck.  I consider it a good investment since I figure I'll end up driving at least 250,000 miles with the Prius anyway.  And after removing the clips on the floor mat holding the jack handles, the new full-size spare fits in the trunk surprisingly well.  The hidden storage area is deep enough.  So I'm not sacrificing any trunk room.  It's only 8 pounds heavier too (32 pounds instead of 24).  To make your own, you need a get a Bridgestone Potenza RE92 P175/65SR14 XL (part# 765SR-4RE92-XL) or any other suitable tire mounted on a basic black steel rim (part# 42611-1A140-01).  For me, the tire itself was $74.95 (before tax).  Then, after adding the rim, a stem. mounting, and balancing, the total (after tax) price was $206.93.  And here's what it looks like: photo album 22


$1.79 per gallon now.  What's the deal with prices climbing so rapidly?


Gas prices are hitting the high levels here again.  $1.69 per gallon is what it's at now (for 87 octane).  For the Midwest, it hasn't been that expensive for quite awhile.  I wonder if that is just a local change or if the whole country is seeing price increases.  Whatever the case, hybrids will start to gain more attention now.  So in the long run, everyone will end up better off.


31 new reasons to get a Prius.  Reducing emissions & consumption is a goal of the amazing technology in the Prius.  This helps to preserve our beautiful planet.  The 31 photos I just added to the GALLERY section of my website show that beauty:  gallery 2  &  gallery 3


There goes a Prius.  As I was talking with someone at work, I noticed a Silver Prius drive by outside.  Cool!


He turned off his engine.  While going through a drive-thru, I noticed quite a bit of excitement behind my Prius.  They noticed I was in a hybrid.  I watched the driver turn off his engine and stick his head out the window to determine if my vehicle was making any noise.  It wasn't!  After responding with a positive nod of his head and a smile, he started his engine back up.  That was fun to see.


Endless cause of drag.  The receiver-hitch permanently bolted under my Prius, which I use for holding a bike-rack, disrupts air flow.  How much?  I really don't know.  But always hanging below the frame will cause my lifetime MPG to be a little bit lower than other Prius in my area.  Oh well.  It's a small price to pay for such a huge convenience.


Much better MPG.  Now it's at 51.7 MPG after 134 miles.  Watching the average drop down to 43.4 with the last tank, as a result of a biking trip, was disappointing... for a Prius.  It's considerably better than any other vehicle that size though.


In your dreams.  The big SUV in front me had the license plate "420 MPG".  I wonder if the owner realized that those randomly generated identification letters & numbers could be interpreted as 42.0 MPG ...something that's just plain not possible in a vehicle that bulky (yet).  But in a comfortably large Prius, that's pretty low.  My lifetime average, which includes last year's nasty winter, is 43.9 MPG.


Lots of waving & honking.  They wanted to make sure I noticed that they noticed the Prius.  Seeing that much excitement from just driving down the street gives you a great feeling.


Gas was $1.45 per gallon this morning, now it's $1.59.  Bummer.  I wish I would have filled a few hours ago.  Waiting until tonight ended up costing me an extra $1.26.  Those huge fluctuations in price are frustrating.  I guess I'll have to take advantage of the Prius's extended driving range more often.


Prius Videos.  I'm getting encouraged to continue to add content to the website.  (That's a scary thought!)  This time my friend Kou sat in the back seat of the Prius with a camcorder and captured a bunch of really good footage of what happens while you drive.  I ended up with 2 great video clips.  Despite the difficult lighting conditions for filming, you can still very clearly see the multi-display and speedometer.  Here's a link to the page that provides details about the videos and snapshots showing what's available for downloading:  video files


Prius Calendar.  Using a freeware java applet my friend Dale found for me, I was able to create an online calendar.  It allows you to insert your own photos, one for each month.  So naturally, I went through my Prius collection and selected 12 representing the season for that time of the year.  Take a look at it.  If you find it useful, you may was to create a shortcut directly to that page:  calendar


There's a White Prius way out here.  A half-hour south of the suburbs, driving through midwest farm land, is not where you'd expect to see another Prius.  But there it was.  Cool!


Biking Trip.  With 2 bikes connected to a receiver-hitch rack in back, my brother drove 55 miles to the trail.  (We had a lot of fun biking.)  Then he drove us back.  The 110 total miles was the longest I had ever been a passenger in my Prius.  It wasn't all that different from being a passenger in a traditional car.  Toyota has done a great job making this hybrid a natural replacement for many people purchasing a new car.  However, the multi-display provides far more information than what was available in the past.  My 52.1 MPG tank-average dropped to 43.4 MPG.  Driving 70 MPH with 2 bikes mounted sideways behind causes drag for any vehicle; it's just that you usually don't know how much.  But in the Prius you do!


He didn't even notice me!  It was time to check the tire pressure.  I pulled up to the air-hose, in stealth-mode.  It was being used by someone already.  The guy was on his knees working on a back tire.  So I double-parked behind his vehicle and waited for him to look toward me so I could tell him there was no need to rush.  He finished, then got up and walked away (to purchase something inside).  The Prius never got noticed.  Sure it was completely quiet out there, but a car just a few feet from his face is something I expected him to notice.  He didn't.  He never even looked over.  I guess have to take the term "stealth" more seriously now.


back to home page       go to top