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Priusing around the country - TWIH - 07-11-2018

Hi all,

Today finds me on a roadside pullout near Astoria, OR.  I was able to get down from the interior of BC this week, will spend 3 - 4 days in southern WA and northern Oregon off the 101, then work my way across eastern OR, NV and finally down to east Tx, then across to the east coast, Carolinas area.

The Prius camper is running well, each night is less than a pleasant experience due to the crowded/cramped cabin but each day is ok, as long as there are stretch breaks to take in the scenery. Nice that the rain is holding off (showers but no downpours), temps are 60’s (12-13 C).  Gas mileage stays in the upper 40’s to lower 50’s (mpg) and stealth is exceptional.  

My normal hideout is in motel parking lots, as I fit in. Jut trying to keep the bright lights out without making it look like someone is sleeping, plus the obligatory get up to pee issues.

I’m already getting the “change oil soon” warnings, having put 5,000 miles on since the end of May, with another close to 5,000 coming. Overall this will be a 10K summer, the usual.

I’ve been researching a lot on minivan values in differing states, and the south seems to have the least expensive and the best overal condition vans, as long as you can avoid flood cars. I’ve also noticed that Carfax and Autocheck, (free on some dealer websites), really don't give one much information other than state registration data. 

So the wandering quest continues. I will hope to stay in the SE next fall/winter as I have a line on a temp (seasonal) full-time job which will allow me to stay in a lower cost rv park ($250-300/mo) during the colder months. AZ and NM are out, I’m tired of the desert, bleak and brown. Green sure looks nice to me. Maybe then the minivan change will happen.

Hope that all of you are able to stay cool this summer. Humidity won’t be welcome but that’s the tradeoff for me. Having the Prius electric a/c is saving my butt on this trip!

Later,

TWIH in a 2011 Prius


RE: Priusing around the country - Snikwahjm - 07-11-2018

I saw some kind of camper that goes on a Prius maybe Pinterest or just google images.


RE: Priusing around the country - MN C Van - 07-11-2018

(07-11-2018, 08:08 AM)TWIH Wrote: AZ and NM are out, I’m tired of the desert, bleak and brown. Green sure looks nice to me.

Yes, it's hard to explain when you're from a verdant area, the bleak, barren desert just looks- Well, bleak and barren!

I couldn't do with an uncomfortable night's sleep- is it just that it's cramped?
And, I understand you leave the vehicle 'on' and AC and gasoline engine runs as needed?

Up here every vehicle is rusted. Mine is 11 years old and it's just gone. So stay away from salt/rustbelt.


RE: Priusing around the country - TWIH - 07-11-2018

(07-11-2018, 11:35 AM)MN C Van Wrote:
(07-11-2018, 08:08 AM)TWIH Wrote: AZ and NM are out, I’m tired of the desert, bleak and brown. Green sure looks nice to me.

Yes, it's hard to explain when you're from a verdant area, the bleak, barren desert just looks- Well, bleak and barren!

I couldn't do with an uncomfortable night's sleep- is it just that it's cramped?
And, I understand you leave the vehicle 'on' and AC and gasoline engine runs as needed?

Up here every vehicle is rusted. Mine is 11 years old and it's just gone. So stay away from salt/rustbelt.
Yes the Prius is cramped. When you have the 60/40 back seats split with the (passenger side) 40 down, you have about 67” maximum to stretch out in, and are limited to about 25” in width. So everything you have with you has to be kept in the front area and behind the 60 seat, if you want to be able to enter/exit the vehicle by sitting in or using the (60) back seat (to dress, pee, anything).  I read that the maximum cargo capacity is appx 40 cu ft, while many minivans are closer to 140 cu ft.

Then you have maybe 2.5 feet of height (overhead clearance) from where you lay down to the curved roof. I use a 5” deep and 5’ long childs air mattress plus a sleeping bag and I have to wiggle around like a contortionist to get in and out. Turning ones body over and flipping around 180 degrees is the issue. I’m sure there’s some way to crawl around that hasn’t come to me yet but so far I don’t see it.

The electric A/C, when in the “ready” position, runs off the large NIMH storage battery. It will (depending on temp setting) run quietly as needed until the battery state of charge requires the gas engine to start, which averages about 2 to 3 minutes every 20 minutes. The car shakes when it starts unless you have the E-brake set, and often wakes me up. It’s been estimated by other Prius campers that the car uses about 1/4 to 1/2 a gallon of gas a night to run the a/c. Thats pretty cheap, although the long-term effects of that practice could be questioned.

It’s still preferable to sweating all night as there is little natural ventilation in the car, since there’s no overhead passive or powered ventilation like in a cargo van. The Prius models with the solar sunroof might help there.

The minivan would represent about a 300% increase in usable space, however with the resultant gas “penalty”. Of course drivers of full-sized vans, ambo’s etc would love the minivan mpg, but I’d be cutting my city mpg by 75% (60 down to 15) and highway mpg by 50% (50 down to 25), but what price comfort?

BW of “the other site” did have a good statement when he said somewhere that you have comfort and you have cost, the more comfortable you go, the more it costs you... Think class A motorhome vs a Smart car.


Priusing around the country - Cammalu - 07-11-2018

It will be worth it!!!


RE: Priusing around the country - TWIH - 07-11-2018

What will be, a minivan?

I like your property by the way, loads of potential. What area/state?


Priusing around the country - Cammalu - 07-11-2018

It will be worth the comfort! Property is near Beaver Dam, KY


RE: Priusing around the country - MN C Van - 07-12-2018

They were making a Prius wagon? Would it help to remove the Passenger seat?

That Transit Connect get excellent MPG, only doesn't have Stow' n Go underfloor storage

Human nature is to be unsatisfied.
Sooner or later the comfort increase becomes suspect.

I read the Prius is an anomaly in history of automobiles; doesn't use an 'Ottp Cycle' engine, as it has no need to run at low RPM-


RE: Priusing around the country - TWIH - 07-12-2018

Correct, they made a Prius V (wagon) however it did not sell well so it was dropped a couple years ago. It stretched the existing car about 1 foot but didnt modify anything else, so the extra weight dropped the mileage down by 10-12 mpg, essentially negating the value. 

The seats could be removed however thats more effort and storage then I want to do. Essentially as I am an urban based traveler, I like keeping it more carlike. When I cross the border then it is back to “car mode” with just camping gear all rolled up/put away, so to the officers it looks just fine.  Nice suggestion though, and some Prius hotel types have done that.


RE: Priusing around the country - TWIH - 07-12-2018

So yesterday I stopped to walk along a beach south of Astoria, I was strolling on the hard sand, no dog with me, when I see a larger brown object up ahead, and to the right of it, about 100’ away, three widely spaced obviously handmade signs on wooden stakes, in a “U” shape, making a semi-citrcle up into the soft sand. Beside the stake in the middle (top of the “U”) was a middle-aged woman.

I’m walking north (up) and am a good 100’ away from what I see is a brown colored sea lion, seemingly stranded on the sand, head pointing towards the ocean.

“Thats weird” I think, “I never see any large marine lfe up on the beach.”

Then as I continue walking, still a good 100’ away, the woman screams out “get away, that is a protected species, walk all the way around the signs”.

Now I am a fairly reasonable older guy but when someone’s first interaction with me is a demanding shrill scream, I don’t respond all nicey-nicey...  “I’m nowhere near that thing, don’t worry” I say.  Huh

To which she screams again, “Get away, it’s protected!”

So I yell back, “I’m protected too” and keep walking.  Confused

She gets within about 20 feet of me and calls out “You’re an asshole, don’t come back.”

My first 3 immediate thoughts are:
1. Give her the single finger salute
2. “Back off bitch”
3. “Do you protect unborn children with the same tenacity?”

Instead I do nothing but keep walking as the surf and wind drown out her obscenities.  Undecided


You know, regardless of what you think about the Save the Whales, Earth First, Sea Sheperds Society types that seem to have taken over the Oregon coastline, common sense would tell you that you won’t get a great reception if your first interaction with a stranger is bossy and a demanding scream.  angry

So I get back to the car, Google “sea lions Oregon Coast” and find out that sea lions, once endangered, are now at their “optimum population” of an estimated 300,000. They are now seriously impacting the fisheries and causing damage to docks etc.  As for any rules/laws/statutes/ordinances about them when on the beach, there is a “recommendation” to keep 50’ away as the sick ones carry some kind of virus which is killing them.

There is a “Sea Lion Defense Brigade”, of which she is likely the local leader, who aggressively dispute with anyone who does anything which is in their opinion, detrimental to the sea lions.

How this group thinks they are helping their cause by harrasing walkers on a public beach is beyond me. I just hope she sacrifices herself to the Sea Lion god in an effort to save more of them.  Idea