Personal Log  #31

June 28, 2002  -  July 12, 2002

Last Updated: Sat. 9/14/2002

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Hybrid Road Rally, Day 2  -  Duluth, MN

I refilled the tank at the top of that mini-mountain.  The pump nozzle triggered "full" way too soon.  I obviously didn't get 59.3 MPG as it calculated.  Oh well.  The next refill will reveal an accurate average.

Next was the opportunity to plummet.  The elevation drop is rather steep and spanned over 2 miles.  Swooshing down wasn't enough to bring the battery-pack SOC (State-Of-Charge) to full, but it came darn close.  And 6 miles later the MPG had only dropped from 99.9 to 80.3.  That's something I'll rarely ever get to see.

At the rally location, we had a decent number of attendees, plus a news crew with video.  That went extraordinarily well.  A lot of people got to see hybrids for the first time (complete with bugs squished on front).  But as always, the opportunity to chat with a local Prius owner was the highlight.  Hearing his story, then getting to provide tips other owners have shared with me was great.

We left.  I got rather overly excited.  That mini-mountain was mine to conquer.  I flew past everyone, going 75 MPH.  At the top, I had to slow down to 70 MPH due to traffic.  I really should have slowed down more.  My showing off made me past the exit.  I didn't even noticed it until I passed the second opportunity to catch the other highway.  The whole time up, I was fascinated to see that the engine was able to feed the tires and both electric motors.  So when I got to the top, two "E" symbols appeared.  The high RPM efficiency of the engine allowed the battery-pack to be charged rather than drained during the climb.  Wow!  It was a good thing too.  I had to cruise at 80 MPH to the next turn-around area to make up time; otherwise, I'd never catch up to the group (who had taken the proper exit).

MPG was sacrificed in that power demonstration.  But that was so much fun, it was worth indulging.


Hybrid Road Rally, Day 1  -  Brainerd, MN

We had a beautiful location and perfect weather still.  We parked on the grass with a native northern tree background and flowers to the side.  The lighting was terrific too.  It made for great photos and really impressed all the people as they drove in.

We provided information and answered a ton of questions.  Quite a few people stopped by, and none of them were shy.  It was a great conclusion to the first day.

Next was the drive to the campsite.  It was actually the farthest single driving segment during the rally, not something we looked forward to.  The day had been long & draining.  But the last few miles of the drive were stimulating.  Seeing the water flow the opposite direction with the setting sun glaring off the rapids was just plain disturbing.  We had crossed the continental divide.  Later, we'll cross it again, allowing us to see water flow it yet another direction.  Whoa!

Tomorrow will include a stop in Duluth, just a few miles north.  It includes a very long & steep altitude drop, a mini-mountain (a pretty hefty grade for Minnesota).  Climbing that with the Prius will be fun.


Hybrid Road Rally, Day 1  -  St. Cloud, MN

We all had a great tail-wind.  The Insight got 78 MPG, the Civic-Hybrid got 49 MPG, and the two Prius averaged 53 MPG.  That was a very pleasing start.  (Of course, the massive SUV benefited from the extra push too.)  To add to that excitement, we spotted a Red Insight while we were driving.

The press there was very interested in our effort.  They took a ton of photos.  Both the photographer and the reporter went for individual rides in my Prius.  (Stealth is always a captivating feature, one best experienced first-hand.)

We had a number of enthusiastic people stop by to check out our stuff.  One person in particular had a common vehicle (a Chrysler minivan) that was running E85.  He was upset that 10's of thousands of those same vehicles were on the road, yet virtually none actually ever used E85 for fuel.  Did you know there are common vehicles capable of that?  Unfortunately, they just use gas instead, even though E85 is available and less expensive.

Overall, we had a blast there.  If that was an indication of what was to come, we will have a lot of fun (for a very good purpose).


Hybrid Road Rally, Day 1  -  St. Paul, MN

We all parked in front of the State Capitol.  There at the steps, a Prius from Illinois joined us.  Cool!  There were a few press people too.  But it was actually a rather disappointing turn out.  President Bush just happened to be in town at that very moment.  The eye of the media was focused on him instead.  Bummer.

We got great photos that we'll be able to share with the press later along with the results of our "competition".  Plus, we did still get to share information and handout materials with a number of curious attendees.

The long drive leaving the Twin Cities was next.


Hybrid Road Rally, Day 1  -  Stillwater, MN

Perfect Weather.  That was a good sign.

It all started down by the river.  We were greeted by a reporter and several people notified about the rally.  We immediately jumped into presentation-mode.

A dark blue Honda Insight, a light brown Honda Civic-Hybrid, a dark green Toyota Prius (using alternate tires that weren't the Low-Rolling-Resistance type), an aqua Toyota Prius, a silver VW Jetta diesel TDI, and a light brown Ford Explorer where the subjects of our showcase.  The question was: Could the all 3 hybrids travel the same distance as 1 traditional SUV using equal amounts of gas.  That's 3 fuel efficient (and very clean) vehicles combined to just 1 (dirty) gas-guzzler.  Unfortunately, my Prius (and perhaps the Hondas) would have a distinct disadvantage, since almost all the miles are highway I won't be able to utilize the most efficient aspect of the hybrid system.  And to make matters even more difficult, my Non-LRR tires would reduce MPG by about 3 compared to what the Prius with original tires would get.  Oh well.  The people there to kick-off our journey weren't concerned.  They were very curious & excited.


PSI made easy.  We all know at this point that allowing your tires to become too soft has serious consequences.  Low PSI (tire pressure) will cause the tread to wear off at frightening rates (it's also a safety risk).  Maintaining proper PSI hasn't been convenient for most people... until now!  I bought a small cordless inflator that can be recharged two ways, using a household 120-volt outlet or the 12-volt outlet in your Prius.  And once it's charged up, not only can you inflate tires, you can also use that device as a power-supply for 12-volt accessories.  The internal battery (which is regulated by a very convenient standard fuse) is suppose to deliver enough power to inflate 8 car tires to 30 PSI or run a 55-watt light for 2 full hours.  And the PSI it's able to provide is amazing.  I was able to pump up the tires on my touring bicycle from empty to 90 PSI in just seconds just by flipping a switch and watching the built-in gauge.  But the characteristic that just totally blew me away is the fact that I bought the device (Campbell Hausfeld 230 PSI Cordless Inflator #CC2300) at Wal-Mart for only $39.95 !! 


Tires Information webpage.  I did my best to summarize all the information everyone provided.  (Prius owners have been testing various tires for quite awhile now.)  Plus, I added the data I've generated myself.  Having only one tire available wasn't the ideal.  This new webpage should serve as a good resource for those researching tire alternatives:  tires


50 MPG on the Multi-Display.  Using Non-LRR tires, driving on highways a lot, carrying a bike on back occasionally, and having a passion for all the windows open just kills my chances at seeing 50 MPG on the Multi-Display.  The Prius was toying with me all week showing 49's.  But today, it finally happened.  It squeaked past 49.9 MPG.  Yeah!  Now at 274 miles, it shows 50.0 MPG.  Sweet!


Completely redesigned Prius Website Cards.  At the gathering a few weeks ago, 2 owners gave me cards they had created for their Prius.  I had provided inspiration.  Cool!  So when the time came to create a new card (I update the data & photo every few months), I stepped back for a moment.  In the last 2 years, I've created 11 different cards and distributed around 3,000 of them.  They were all pretty much laid out the same way.  But having seen those other cards provided inspiration for me to see try something different, to create a new design so there would be another template for others to copy.  So I did!  I�m really pleased with the results too.  The Prius photo is quite a bit larger.  The MPG and mileage text has also been made bigger.  And (mostly from having run out of space) I took advantage of vertical typing, it makes text stand out more without having to change any aspect of the font.  Check out the new card:  website cards 3    website cards 4    website cards print


Thumbs up from in front.  While cruising along on my normal commute today, the guy in front of me slowed down a little then stuck his arm out the window to reveal a thumbs up.  That was the first time I had been recognized that way.  Cool!


New Prius Color:  Black.  That's the rumor now.  We won't actually know until the 2003 model is officially announced.  I wonder if they take away an existing color.  I also wonder if they'll add any new options.  Hmm?


102 F Degrees.  Youch!  I really didn't want to know the Multi-Display went that high.  But today it did.  Fortunately, the A/C worked just fine still.  In fact, the MPG didn't even drop that much with it on.


Summer Photos.  You'll definitely be pleased with this latest set I just added to the collection.  All of these photos were taken with the lush green of Summer and a large body of water in the background.  In one you can't actually see the water though; it was exposed just a few minutes before sunset to take advantage of the horizontal lighting. Another green aspect is the Prius color itself; in two particular photos I took advantage of that by altering the angle slightly to create a surprisingly different result.  Lastly, the most important green is the part you can't see.  My Prius was "running" the entire time at all those different locations.  That allowed me to quickly change the position of the car.  Using nothing but electricity to do that meant emissions were non-existent. Here's what I saw:  photo album 32


I captured their interest.  While at the bookstore, I noticed two women looking through an automotive magazine shopping for a new car.  When I overheard one say she wanted a small car that got really good mileage, I turned around and yelled out "That's my cue."  Then I held out a card and said "You should get a hybrid."  After pointing out a few highlights, I thanked them for their time and walked away.  Later, when they walked by me (I was close to the exit) I heard they were still talking about hybrids.  Excellent!


2 Years Ago.  That's when the online ordering process began.  I had already started my wait... 3 weeks earlier.  It felt like forever, but at least other people were joining the agony.  That didn't help.  Everyone else was overwhelmed with anticipation too.  When I finally got my Prius 2.5 months later, even more people were waiting and the delivery times were growing.  The website seemed to help, so I kept adding content.  Who knew it would keep getting bigger and bigger?  And now you don't even have to wait to get a Prius, you can just drive one right off the lot the same day.

6-28-2002 Lucky Prius Encounter.  On my way to the coffee shop, I noticed a Prius with an unfamiliar license.  There was an parking empty spot next to it.  That was my cue.  I pulled in, then proceeded to assemble a care-package.  Just seconds after leaving it, I saw people walking toward it.  The lights flashed.  I jumped out to say "Hi!"  They were very confused.  Why would a total stranger greet them and why was there a large envelope on their Prius?  Then they saw my Prius (since hearing it wasn't possible, hehehe).  The pieces fell into place.  That was fun.


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