Thursday, June 23, 2011

Drive through the mountains to Vermont

Got the car all packed, left just a little past 5 in the morning. Had a huge bag, my bike, a fan, a lamp, loose clothes on hangers, a bag of shoes, another bag of stuff, my computer, my work bag, and other shtuff. I wish car reviewers would stop calling the Prius a compact :-)

Now the trip. Oh là là.

Everything was going smoothly. MPG starting out was a little lower than usual with all the extra weight in the car, but I was hanging right around 70 mpg for the first couple hours. Roads were also wet in some places creating some unwanted friction, and I did get some rain, but not nearly as much as I thought, which was great. Pulse and glide, pulse and glide.

A big percentage of the trip was at 50-55 mph. Surprisingly, even with mountains, this returned very nice results. Holding steady on somewhat flat or rolling parts of the mountains (ignition timing 13/14, throttle position 17/18) at 55 mph would show an incredible 80-90 mpg instant when battery was around 61% state of charge. The technology is really just staggering when you sit back for a second and think about it.

There were some very steep and high RPM mountain climbs, but everything seemed to sort of even out. My Scangauge mpg had fluctuated some, but was back between 68 and 69 about 150 miles into the trip. I really thought Andy was gonna win the Facebook contest for guessing my mileage (he guessed 67 mpg).

And then disaster (was that dramatic enough?). On Route 103, the Vermont DOT had closed various bridges, completely blocking the entire route - WITHOUT PUTTING UP ANY WARNINGS OR DETOUR SIGNS. You can guess I was swearing profusely as I had to throw away all my momentum, turn around through a little neighborhood, and drive back the other way. Keep in mind this was on a 50 mph road, so it's not like I could just pulse and glide for 100 mpg the whole time.

I then had to stop and ask directions, and luckily the locals knew of the crazy backroads to get around it. Problem solved...

...or not really. I had to spend three miles on a dirt road for the detour. Since it was wet outside, it was really a mud road. In just three out of the 150 miles I had travelled so far, my mileage dropped 6%. There was no traction and the engine really had to work to push the car along. Gliding was almost useless since the mud would slow the car 5-10 mph in mere seconds.

Muddy Wentworth


Anyway, I was able to get a little bit back over the rest of the trip, but I was quite (and later downgraded from quite to a little) ticked that Vermont DOT's lack of consideration (or competence?) caused me to drive about 22 miles extra, wasting a third of a gallon of fuel.

End result:

65.7 mpg over 245.5 miles. In reality this would be around 67 mpg or so. Tank down to about 68 or 69 mpg from 74 the other day.

In other news, to clean up, Wentworth just had his first carwash, and looks sparklin' clean right now. Here's the before:

I was told the construction blocking route 103 would be complete by the time I come home. I wonder if 70 mpg is possible back through the mountains...


  1. I was driving in Vermont two weeks ago! I got 25 mpg. Not to worry, I was driving a Dodge Charger!
    - Michgal

  2. Well, that is still over the EPA combined sticker for that car ;-) so good job! Probably won't drive too much now that I'm here. Prefer to look at the mountains than drive over them.

  3. I know!! I am going to post a thread on PC about it soon. ;)