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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2 Days to Brent's 2015 Travels

Here is my final step in preparing for the trip.  At the frown of my wife Denise the family room is a staging area for the final loading of the Prius.  Actually this is a culling out process of take and leave.

I had purchased the plastic bins for the trip, and to show you how things change, I am no longer taking any.  What I learned is that the plastic bins do not conform to the spaces I have available.  Therefore, I have used the bins for what I am not taking and all 4 bins are full. 

My travel plans using the used 2011 Prius I bought this summer has been a lot of work.  My goals were to modify Prius to live in and out of for 3.5 months.  Modifications could not drill holes or permanently alter the Prius from its stock condition. I did not want to expand beyond the skin of the Prius.  I didn't want to regularly move items to sleep or sit.  Items taken out for use may reside temporally reside on the bed for space but do not reside there that when it is time for bed I don't have to move items to the seat.  My bed is on the 60% fold-down side and my seat is on the 40% fold-down side.  You will get a tour of the Prius inside when I get to FL.  I will also take you through all the plans that failed, like the bins and will show you the successes that allowed me to make everything fit.  As the trip progresses I will encounter other challenges and will need to deal with them.

My goals meant that I needed to think Tiny Prius, the Tiny House movement.  I wanted to get the best gas mileage and at the same time make my travels as comfortable as possible.  Yes, I plan to sleep, sit, watch TV, listen to podcasts and radio, do limited cooking and wash up and shave in it.  This is no small task and it meant that I needed my engineering skills to make it all work. Yes I will stay in campgrounds, state parks, national parks, Boondock in casino parking lots, truck stops, and BLM lands (federal government land, some free park).

Last year with the Class B Campervan I had space and I just brought stuff I didn't use knowing I had space, although I did ship a bunch of stuff back from Phoenix that cost me +$70 to make space for my niece Brianna, who visited me on the road.  Space wasn't an issue.

Yes I can lay out straight and have a full size sleeping bag and mattress pad.  I have my Engel Cooler in the back with me, that I love.  Yes it was $860.00 last year including shipping that I bought for my last trip.  It is very high tech and runs on a true compressor that only uses 2 amps when running. Oh, another goal was not to store items in the front passenger seat at night.  On the front passenger floor is ok.  All my living must be in the back of the car. 

There is so much to tell everyone about how I solved so many problems and to make them fit.  I have slept in the Prius to work out the bugs 3 times and each time I learned something new.  I will continue to learn on my trip. The Prius is unique in that it comes standard with a generator that only runs when needed.  I will explain this more in another post.

The hardest thing was not the engineering of outfitting the vehicle, as this was the most fun.  The hardest was making choices of what I wanted to bring vs. what I could bring. 

While I have been getting ready life at home has been work as well.  Fixing so many things that were on the list of things to do and many that weren't.  I have also helped another niece Talia and her boyfriend Mike with many things at their new house. I enjoyed it all but some things didn't get done and will have to wait until I get back from my trip. 

My plans are similar to last year in that I drive my Mom to FL to be with her sister for the winter and stop on the way at Son Brenton in MD for her and my granddaughter Avery, who share the same birthday.  After leaving my Mom off in FL I am on my way to visit relatives and friends in FL and then heading west to the southwest to meet up with folks there and then to visit other son Clayton in Monterey, CA.  Then back to the southwest to enjoy the weather and hiking.  I have a lot of things on my list of things to do on the road and will be sharing them with you with mostly daily posts. 

Please ask me questions by posting on my blog or emailing me at

Oh,  I will be comparing my travel experience and costs with last year.

Now till this weekend.


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