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Long Road Trip Advice: Cali to Virginia on 2010 Prius IV

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Main Forum' started by wordisbarn, Apr 21, 2012.

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  1. wordisbarn

    wordisbarn Junior Member

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    My job needs me to move to VA for a few months and it would be more cost effective if I drive than fly and buy a cheapo car.

    I need some advice.

    I have a PRIUS IV with navi and solar roof.
    I'm leaving socal in May and I'm thinking it would take me 4 days cruising there by myself.

    Is there anything I should be doing prior to leaving? How long should my prius be on everyday? I have 19k miles on my prius and will need a oil change in June. Should I change the oil earlier? I have yet to change my tires and I'm confident its still good.

    Tire pressure advice?

    Freeway road advice?

    The farthest I've driven would be from socal to reno, nv by myself. I'm aware this will be very rough/draining so rest stops are a must.
  2. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    It's the same as any other highway drive, just longer.

    You Prius can run 24 hours a day, you can't so pace yourself and don't worry about the car.

    4 days would mean too many hours a day for most people to do 4 days in a row. Consider an extra day.

    Do any maintenance work that would come due on the trip before you leave so you don't have to waste time looking for a place to have it done while on the road.
  3. Jim Clark

    Jim Clark Member

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    If it's due for an oil change in June, do it before you leave, and any other routine maintenance that might be due. Set your tire pressures a little higher, we keep ours at 34# (cold pressure, get an air pump if you don't have one).

    It's 2661 miles from LA to DC. That's 665 miles a day for 4 days which is a lot. Might want to consider 5 days. Longest I ever did was 1300 miles in 2 days, Birmingham, AL to Boston. 700 the 1st day (more rural roads, less traffic, could go fast in my Porsche) and 600 the 2nd day (through DC, NJ, NY, and CT). I was pretty beat up by the time I got to Boston. With 2 drivers, 4 days would be easy.
  4. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    Not sure, but it seems front end of car ends up with more rock chip damage on long trips. If I were going on a long trip, I would probably use a front end bra on the car, just for the trip.

    Griot's Garage catalog showed a saran wrap type roll for putting on front end of car to prevent chips. haven't seen that in catalog lately.

    I got a 1/4" chip in my 09 just going to 175 miles to mendocino. I don't get chips around the local Bay Area freeways. There's so many cars, the tire's clear the road of debris. On less traveled roads, all kinds of stuff including nasty trucks that drop stuff off back to chip your car.
  5. ChipL

    ChipL Active Member

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    Agree with others 4 days is hard on the body. Did DC to Dallas in two days and was worn out. Take 5 to 7 days and enjoy the ride and see some things along the way.
  6. markabele

    markabele Senior Member

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    By the time you figure in wear and tear on your Prius you sure it would be cheaper to drive?
  7. WE0H

    WE0H ^^My garage queen^^

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    Prius is a piece of cake for long haul trips. I drive a rental 3rd Gen every February from Minneapolis Minnesota to Orlando Florida and back. Two days per direction. Other trips I drive 14 hours straight thru with stops for gas, food & bathroom duty :p It is a very comfortable easy driving car on any trip. That's the method with little time to get there.

    Here's the other way:
    The most fun way of traveling is taking your time stopping where you think it will be worth stopping. Wander around touring the country from where your at, ending where you need to be several days later.

    Travel safe and have fun. Take some pics and post them on the forum if you like.

    Mike :tea:
  8. Michgal007

    Michgal007 Senior Member

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    Have fun, especially passing all those gas stations. Like people above me said, check tire pressure, do regular maintenance, and perhaps get new wiper blades.
  9. M8s

    M8s Retired and Lovin' It

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    We do a lot of road trips. We drive from CO to AZ in a day all the time. That's 837 miles in 12 hours flat. So averaging 665 a day shouldn't be hard.

    First, it is easy on the car. You're not accelerating and decelerating a lot, you're not using the brakes a lot, the cooling system is wide open and the engine isn't working too hard once you're up to speed. Just put it in cruise and, well, cruise.

    I'd check all fluids, top up windshield washer fluid, change the oil before you go if you're close to 20k miles anyway, and pump up the tires to 40 psi. Check the spare tire while you're at it. I always carry a little Slime pump and an excellent Slime digital tire pressure gauge - available at AutoZone. I also carry something to clean the windshield and a couple of small trash bags. Make sure you have your jack and related tools and know how to use them.

    Check out Mapquest - Traffic Conditions for traffic cams and road construciton slow-ups.

    Take an iPod or a satellite radio for the long days, especially if you're alone. If you're not alone, buy some crossword puzzle books to pass the time. I work math problems in my head to stay alert, too.

    I only drink water. I try to hold a small swig in my mouth for a minute or so before swallowing. It quenches my thirst without consuming too much and having to stop to pee. I eat a little hard candy (sparingly). Maybe a granola bar now and then, too.

    Try to avoid major cities at rush hour. If you get stuck, that's a good time to get gas, have a meal, check your email, etc. If you're heading East, try to avoid driving into the sun early in the morning. Consider sleeping in and driving in the evenings.

    If you get tired and are losing your concentration, get out of the car and get some kind of exercise, like climbing stairs. Do it to the point you're panting, if possible. I always park a (relatively) long way from the McDonald's or Wendy's and get in a brisk walk back and forth.

    Stay out of DC as much as possible. It's about the worst traffic in the US. Circle around the DC metropolitan area as far out as you can to avoid extremely slow traffic. Or use the Metro, which is great.
  10. Big Steve

    Big Steve ramblin wreck

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    Where n VA ARE YOU HEADNG.
  11. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    I do PDX to SLC every winter on the PDX-SLC highway, I-84. 797 miles in a day. It's a long day 11-12 hours. I wouldn't do that on a multi-day road trip though. Assuming summer time and lots of light, plan on 10 hours on the road. Give yourself time for good breakfast and dinner, hour to unwind at night catching up on email, web surfing etc.



    Don't do that. Drink plenty of fluids. Don't get dehydrated. Take bio breaks when you need them, interstates have rest stops every 40 miles or so. You won't lose time and the bio breaks are a good time to walk, change position.

    And use those power seats to tweak position.



    Don't hesitate to take a nap when you feel like it. Don't worry about losing time. 15 minute power nap does wonders. Many freeway accidents are due to people dozing at the wheel vs. at the rest stop. Solar roof is nice as you can keep windows closed and it will ventilate the car at the rest stop.

    Line up 50 hours of audiobooks to listen to...not the time to catch up on boring tomes like "Ulysses". Go with exciting best sellers, fun stuff you really want to read, books that movies were based on can be fun.

    Line up motel stops and plug the location into saved addresses so you can Nav right to them. Using the same chain for frequent flyer miles or discounts works. I like to pick spots that are tied to a breakfast restaurant chain vs. the hotel "continental".

    DC is a great town. Old Town Alexandria is nice weekend spot. Check out Annapolis (do the Academy tour, Cantler's for crabs is fun), Eastern shore, Ocean City on weekends. VA is Revolutionary War, Civil War history treasure trove if you are into that. "Washington" by Ron Chernow is a big long read that would give you great background on VA if you like historical stuff.
  12. krazypriuslady

    krazypriuslady New Member

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    My advice is to bribe a friend to come with, for company, safety and being a driver.
    But them a cheap airline ticket home. Your life is worth that money
  13. mad-dog-one

    mad-dog-one Prius Enthusiast

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    It just so happens that I'm starting the same trip, in the reverse direction (Wa, DC to So Calif) in about 2 hours. Mine will require waiting in some lines and a security search and should take a little over 5 hours if United Airlines runs on time, but I would prefer the 4 day adventure in a Prius if my work schedule allowed. My only advice is to drive carefully, enjoy the scenery and give yourself at least 24 hours to recuperate on the back side of the adventure. It is a beautiful country.
  14. Jim Clark

    Jim Clark Member

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    The advice on audio books is great! Makes the time go by much faster!
    1 person likes this.
  15. wordisbarn

    wordisbarn Junior Member

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    I'll be in Fort Lee VA for military duty, TDY. I'll be there for a few months.


    Thanks for all the advice. The audiobooks are a must! I guess I should get some XM radio for 5 months.

    It's a shame that the Prius Front Bumper Bra is such a good idea but it takes 4-6 weeks for delivery. I'm predicting my front bumper chipped within the first day of driving.

    I'm planning on driving at least 12 hours a day, should be there in 4 days.
  16. WE0H

    WE0H ^^My garage queen^^

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    Packing tape will help keep chips down and it is in stock at Walmart :)

    All else fails, wax the living crap out of the car so it is very slippery. Use Rain-X or your favorite slippery stuff on the windows and mirrors to make it easy driving in the rain.

    Mike
  17. Big Steve

    Big Steve ramblin wreck

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    First, and most important, thanks for your service.

    Next, there were a lot of comments about DC traffic. There'll be no need for you to get within an hour of DC.

    If you are coming from the south aim for I85 north towards the fort. If from north, say Ohio, aim for I-81 to I-64 to I-295. Basically head for Richmond, not Washington.

    Stay safe.
  18. B. Roberts

    B. Roberts Hypah Milah! Ayuh.

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    Sounds like a great road trip to me!

    TDY? Don't they offer to fly you there? Would be a lot easier. You can always rent a small car locally when you need one, or pick up a bicycle while you're there.

    One thing for sure, if you're from the west, make sure that you prepare for that special eastern treat we know as Summer "humidity". Everyone out west is really spoiled with all that nice dry air for the most part. It can be a shock!

    I enjoy long trips like that. Have done many solo and family trips through all parts of the U.S. over the years. Not a boring moment, if you like to travel. The last really big solo cross country I did was when I bought an old '97 del Sol (perfect shape) in 2006 and drove it home from McMinnville, Oregon to Portland, Maine... 3,333 miles in 3.5 days. Perfect dry weather all the way and it was early March! I had the top off over the Continental Divide, in sunshine and temperatures near 60 degrees. I did that trip on a crazy 4 day work break.

    And yes, your car will pick up a few stone chips along the way. Try to keep some distance from big rigs as much as you can to minimize stone hits, especially West of the Mississippi. It's really the bugs that will do a lot more widespread paint damage. Before you leave, wax your car really well. The nose, mirrors and "a" pillars will take the brunt of the bug hits. If you let the sun and heat cook'em on the car, they will etch the clear coat pretty quickly. So, don't leave those bug guts on your car very long! Wash them off as often as possible. Take the wax along to apply as needed. Meguiar's Cleaner Wax is very good for that purpose.

    You'll probably take I40 across to I81 and then head in a more easterly direction near Roanoke/Salem, Va. You're going to enjoy that drive. Let us know how it goes.
  19. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    Definitely get the "Washington: A Life" by Chernow from Audible. How to lose battles and win wars. Plus the VA history.
  20. Judgeless

    Judgeless Senior Member

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    Over the last 2 weeks we took the following trip.

    - Cleveland, OH to Panama City Beach, FL (17 hours only stopped once for gas) stayed 4 nights
    - Panama City Beach, FL to Coco Beach, FL (6 Hours never stopped) stayed 3 nights
    - Coco Beach, FL to Winter Haven, FL (1.5 hours never stopped) stayed 2 nights
    - Winter Haven, FC to Hilton Head, SC (6 hours never stopped) stayed 4 nights
    - Hilton Head, SC to Cleveland OH (13 hours only stopped once for gas and food)

    Total Trip 3,051 miles with an average speed of 48MPH and 50.0 MPG. Most the trip was highways that forced us to go 70MPH. That hurt overall MPG’s a lot. If I did the entire trip at 60MPH I would have got 60 MPG. The mountains in Virginia and West Virginia hurt MPG’s as well. I keep my tires at 49 PSI front and 47 rear.

    [​IMG]
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