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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day 5 - South Carolina to Florida & First Night in Van

I almost feel that I should start off this post with me laying in my "Prius Bed", but I will start my day off with our 4.5 hour drive time to central Florida.

There was frost on the car this am at the motel outside Savannah, GA with the TV weather report that it would reach 70 deg today.  About 45 minutes into the drive I decided to stop for gas.  For a Prius with only a 11 gallon tank a fill up is generally 8 gallons.  I stopped at a Flying-J truck stop where the regular gas was $1.979.  With my Good Sam card I get 3 cents off per gallon so my price was $1.949 for just under 8 gallons.

I will cover Prius vs. Coachman Campervan costs in another post as I am in my bed position for the night and don't want to get up to fumble around for the details. I can say the following over this first leg of the trip from central MA to central FL that is over 1300 miles, the Prius was so much more fun to drive. Yes, it also saved momey but the a Prius was comfortable and ran well.  Here is what I learned about the Prius mpg.  In the summer I can drive to MD and get 56.6 mpg.  In the winter with it being cold outside running the heat the engine runs more and my mpg went down to 46.6 mpg.  I'm not unhappy as I knew there was a drop in mpg that would be expected.  

What I also learned about mpg is that at posted speeds of 70 mph I would set the cruse control for 74 mph and see 72 or 73 on the GPS I would get 46 mpg.  When I dropped the cruise setting to 65 mph the gas mileage went up to 54 mpg.  This is a good example of how speed affects mileage.  I don't get to set my cruise in New England to 75 mph so it was a good test.

Coming down I95 we took I295 in Jacksonville to I10 west to US301 south down through Ocala.  The drive became much more interesting on US301, that is a undivided 4 lane highway that passes through small towns as we headed south.  There were many farm stands selling citrus fruit. And lots of speed traps as the highway posted speed went from 65 mph to 30 mph through towns,

We we arrived in Ocala it was 1:00 pm and 73 deg and still an hour away from our destination at my mom's sister / my aunt's, so we decided to look for a place for lunch.  We found this very busy diner in the center of Ocala, FL called Aunt Fannie's.  As with all diners food is plentiful, delivered fast, and cost effective.  We went by many chain restaurants to find this one.  It's always a good sign when the parking lot is nearly full.  Any travel through the area it is worth a stop.

This afternoon I fixed a light switch that had a loose wire and changed the water filter to the trailer.

After my aunt made dinner for us I retired to the Prius where I am now.  This afternoon I did take a 1/2 hour to set up the inside as planned but only went partially stealth.  Curtains are up but window blackouts are not in.  I am in a Moble home park with most units off of wheels and are park models.  I am a visitor so I don't have to pay.  If I did it is $45.00 per night for camping spot.  The bathrooms and showere are 4 sites away.  I am plugged in to my aunts power.  Tonight I am running the cooler on a/c and running the charger I have to charge he Prius 12 volt battery that I have my iPad and iPhone tied into.  If I get cold by am I can turn on the electric heater on low but lows are only expected to get down to 50 deg.

So what has gone well and what hasn't as I start the first night.


- Bed design is working fine
- My staging area on the passenger front floor for items for showering and clean cloths seem to be a good idea, so when I get up in am I have what I need all ready in one place)
- Power center for Prius 12 volts works great.  Haven't tried out the house battery power center and inverter power yet.


- Need more general organization (some things are still not is the best spot and this may take time.)
- My sitting area is cluttered and didn't want this (I didn't think of the clothing I take off at night and dirty clothing and having a home for it)
- Need to manage power cables from rear power center better and have a holder in the back for the phone.  (Right now I have the phone hanging from the cord and this is not good.)
- I keep on thinking that there may be items that I can send home eventually, but I don't know what yet.  
- Need to put on the Velcro sticky spots to the sides of the curtains and on the plastic on the Prius to hold the curtain sides closed.

What's ahead:

I still have to go grocery shopping for the solo weekend and will need to keep items to a minimal.  I have space in the cooler nonperishable in 2 bags that do have a home for.

I have visits to planned to cousins on Thursday and Friday.  Then the weekend in south Florida somewhere.

I know I will have more good and bad but this is the start for the first night.  Many more nights to go!


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