2000Mile Winter Road Trip Recommendation

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Tim Wang, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. Tim Wang

    Tim Wang Junior Member

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    Surprisingly I can't find anything related to this on the forum so I am just create this new thread.
    I am planing a road trip from Champaign, IL (140 mile South of Chicago) to LA, which will be 2000miles, right before Christmas. I have never done anything this long and I will be driving alone, I thought I could use some recommendations.
    This is what I have found so far: please let me know if any of these are incorrect
    - There are generally I-40 and I-70 route
    - I-70 (Kansas City > Denver > LV >LA)is more scenery(not sure about winter) but steep and may have issue with snowstorm road closure in winter;
    - I-40 (OK City > Albuquerque > Flagstaff > LA)is flatter and more boring.
    - 500 miles per day is "ideal", 600 is "pushing it" 700 is "hardcore" and 800 is "brutal".
    - I don't need to book a motel in advance, just stop where I have to stop and find a motel, this will allow me to possibly push a bit further everyday.

    I will leave around Dec the 20th, and I want to be at LA as soon as possible.My current plan is to take I-40 and spend 3-1/2 days on the road, or 3 days if I can push a bit further everyday.
    Day 1: Champaign > St Louis > OK City, 678 miles
    Day 2: OK City > Amarillo > Albuquerque, 541 miles
    Day 3: Albuquerque > Phoenix, AZ > Blythe, CA, 568 miles
    Day 4: Blythe > Palm Springs (to visit a friend) > LA, 216 miles

    Would this be a doable plan? What kind of issues I could encounter along the way(especially considering winter)? Would there be cell phone signals all along the way (you know, in case s**t hit the fan)?

    Appreciate everyone's response in advance.
     
  2. alekska

    alekska Active Member

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    I always had a cell phone coverage (at least for voice) along Interstates.
    I have done 600-700 mi per day before in Prius, but I would not want to drive again next day. So day one in your plans looks a little long.
    Do you have a decent winter tires on your car?
     
  3. Tim Wang

    Tim Wang Junior Member

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    No. I actually just got new Assurance Fuel Max on all four. That was before planning this trip.
     
  4. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    Changed your belt?
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    map out the toyota dealers along the way before leaving.
     
  6. kenoarto

    kenoarto Senior Member

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    Been there, done that. Some days I can drive 14 hours, some days only 4. Remember to stop every 2 hours to stretch your legs. Bring a good mix of entertaining books, podcasts and music. Caffeine is your friend. Watch the weather reports (snow on the northern route through Wyoming frequently closes the the highway). Check your tire pressure and oil.
     
    #6 kenoarto, Dec 7, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
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  7. Tim Wang

    Tim Wang Junior Member

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    Oh Hey. Not yet but will buy the belt from the dealer tomorrow and try to do it myself.

    OK, but honestly would this be necessary? This make me feel like my Prius is determined to break down on the road....
    I do think this is a good idea though, just in case.

    Yep, Stop and stretch in smaller interval I find helpful as well, I will definitely get tons of music and talk shows on the phone but maybe not books:D.
     
  8. kenoarto

    kenoarto Senior Member

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    Just get in the car and go. Check your fluids and tire pressures. Don't bother changing the belt unless you are quite sure it has gone bad AND you are totally sure of your Prius belt changing skills. It is not a part to test your DIY skills on before a long trip. If your oil is near 5000 miles/6 months, you should think about doing that, but many of us are converting to Toyota's new 10,000/1 year plan. Go ahead buy yourself a $2 mesh lumbar support for your lower back. And then enjoy a nice drive. Stop at the scenic overlooks once you get past Kansas ... FYI Audio books are GREAT on long road trips! Ask any trucker. Dracula at sunset is ... spooooooky!
     
    #8 kenoarto, Dec 7, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
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  9. Rph74

    Rph74 Active Member

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    I will second the lumbar support. HUGE game changer for long road trip comfort!

    I have made a similar road trip to the one you are planning. 10 years ago I drove from Springfield, MO to Phoenix via Oklahoma/Albuquerque. You are correct that much of that drive is flat and boring.

    From Phoenix I went to Las Vegas a few days, and on the return trip went via Utah/ Denver/Kansas City/Springfield,MO. The trip from Las Vegas to Denver was probably the most scenic drive I have ever taken. But from Denver to home is boring. The whole state of Kansas felt like an eternity to get through. Very desolate. And yes, there will be a lot of mountains to climb so be prepared for that.

    Have fun!
     
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  10. Tim Wang

    Tim Wang Junior Member

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    True dat! I will go in to the dealer to get the transmission fluid changed and I will let them show me the cracks if they still want me to change the belt.

    The lumber seems like a good idea, can't find 2 dollar ones but 10 buck from Walmart is cheap enough. I will also be sure to load a bunch of audio books on my phone. Thank you for the suggestions!

    I see. Maybe i-40 forth i-70 back could be a good idea to see the "full package" along the way. Do you remember if your 10-years-ago trip was during the winter or summer? I was just wondering if the view in any good in winter (being where you and I live I think you understand the legitimacy of the question).
     
  11. kenoarto

    kenoarto Senior Member

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    View is great any time of year. You're missed the fall leaves, but any snow can be truly breathtaking. Do be aware that driving at night is not scenic (and scary in the mountains).
     
    #11 kenoarto, Dec 8, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
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  12. Tim Wang

    Tim Wang Junior Member

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    Hey guys, I would like to report that I have safely made to LA.
    the total distance traveled is 2192miles. I made a few detours other than just stop by the gas stations.
    I did log the fuel consumption every time at the pump, and the MPG comes to be 45.13. Its not super impressive for some of you guys but I wasn't doing anything special other than normal driving. Besides, spending a total of 103 dollar and 13 cents on fuel to travel the distance that is more than the length of Japan will certainly drop a lot of jaws.XD

    I end up driving 720/720/560 and 200 miles per day on the 4 day trip. Doing 700 miles is not as difficult as I thought it would be, I even had time to take a 30 min nap everyday, but I did travel after sunset (day length was 9 hour 10 min approx.)

    The recommendation of the mesh lumbar support was very helpful, I can't drive without it now.
    Again, Thanks for everyone's help in the forum.
     
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  13. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    2100 miles for $103. dollars.

    Awesome. That should be a Prius commercial instead of
    the stupid commercials they usually use.
     
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  14. Tim Wang

    Tim Wang Junior Member

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    OK trip report...
    I got back from LA via i-15, i-70 then i-80 to Chicago, then drive south back to Champaign.

    Learnt a few things on the way and have a few questions that Im sure the peps here can help me figure out (love you guys).
    Things that I learnt:
    1. that Arizona has mountains (I thought desert suppose to be flat)
    2. that if you are doing a long downhill, and the HV battery is charged to 85%(I think, from torque app), the car will automatically act as in B mode(engine brake).
    3. that conversely if you are doing a really long uphill (to Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70), The SOC indicator on the MFD can actually goes to 1 bar. And then the ICE really struggles. If I try to push the car harder at 45MPH in that situation the ICE start to choke (start shaking and lose power). This only happened once and there.
    4.

    Now questions that I have:
    1. I got new Assurance Fuel Max tires about 150 miles before the trip, and I noticed the difference of the speedometer on dash and on my GPS. i.e. 73 on Dash and 71 on GPS. The reason I mention this is that I think this inaccuracy is messing with the odometer and MPG calculation. The planned trip from Champaign to LA was 2000 miles exactly, I end up traveling 2616 on the odometer, even taken into account the gas stop and distance to hotel that's too big a difference isn't it? this will seriously mess up the MPG calc as well since I don't know how much I actually travelled.
    2. The other question is regarding oil change. The total trip was 5630 miles long, I didn't have the time to change the oil during the trip. even I got new oil in the engine at the beginning of the trip, it will still go sour before I got back. In my case I end up doing 2700 miles more than schedule in that old oil before I got back home and changed it. How much a influence of that will have on the engine? Should I follow the schedule dogmatically and stop on the road to change oil? I'm using the dino oil from Toyota BTW.
    3. I have the Torque app set up on the trip to LA. I noticed that when I am coasting at 75MPH the ICE is revving around 2500RPM all the time. Isn't that a little high? Also in some part the trip I have to push noticeably harder to keep up to speed (75), such as the leg of i-40 in Texas, I m not sure its the weather, the slope(if there is any) or the car. For those of you who does a lot of road trip have you notice this before?

    I made a GPS logger and tracked my trip, heres a what it looks like. Color shows elevation in meters.
    Forth trip:
    Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 11.06.22 AM.png
    Back trip:
    Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 6.48.04 PM.png

    Hope some of you guys find something useful.


    .
     
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  15. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    nice write up tim, thanks. glad your trip was uneventful, car wise(y) no worries on the oil change, get 'er done when you can all the best!
     
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  16. kenoarto

    kenoarto Senior Member

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    Prius is a surprisingly good cruzer, ain't it? Just wish it was quieter -- the road noise can really get to you, with the volume turned up at 40. FYI: Newer Prius' mandated oil change is 10,000 miles. Resultingly, many of us have lengthened our intervals somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000: that's better for our wallets AND the environment. Engine oil gets dirty, used, but it never "goes sour", but do hold on when the rocket fired ejector seat suddenly and violently propels you out of the angry car ;)
     
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  17. Scallywag

    Scallywag Member

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    Gen II Prius is 5000 mile oil change interval IIRC. I recommend you just get one now.

    After long uphills, it may be worth considering a transaxle fluid change, especially depending on your car's mileage and when it was last changed.
     
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  18. Tim Wang

    Tim Wang Junior Member

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    Yes, road trip in the Prius is very comfortable. The road noise doesn't bother me at all, not sure it's the new tires or that I am so focused on the talkshow and audiobooks that I don't notice it anymore.
    And thank you for the info on the oil. The word "sour" was used rhetorically but I didn't know about the rocket ejector thing. Hey you learn something new everyday :D!

    Yeah I've changed the oil since I got back, and thank you for the remainder on the transaxle fluid, but I just changed it the day before the trip, I think I will hold on to this batch for another while.
    Thanks
     
    #18 Tim Wang, Jan 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  19. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    The speedometer-GPS speed difference sounds about normal.

    Speedometers and odometers have different error factors, and deliberately so. With OEM tires, speedometers must not read low, by law in some places and by industry norms in others, so that you cannot use it as an excuse for speeding. Thus, speedometers are usually biased a little high in the U.S., and more so in some other world regions. OTOH, odometers must not read significantly high, as it draws out the class action product liability lawyers to shake down manufacturers over claims of warranty fraud. Most of my modern odometers have been within a fraction of a percent, e.g. 0.2-0.3% low on the current Prius. But our newest Subaru reads close to 2% low to avoid a repeat of the aforementioned shakedown.

    Thus, you should compare your Prius trip odometer to your GPS trip meter on some future highway trip.
     
    #19 fuzzy1, Jan 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
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  20. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Spraying the wheel-wells and door interiors with undercoating will reduce that outside sound.
     
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