So in year 3 of this PPIAM adventure my awesome Chevy S-10 had an unfortunate miss-shift on the interstate (it was an automatic), and ended in a torn up transmission that left me without a proper 1st gear unless I switched into overdrive mode and then switched over to normal once I hit the 2nd gear. It was an awesome truck that got me though many travels, trips and adventures; but I finally retired it in lieu of an experiment.
A Toyota Prius
It wasn’t chosen because it was “green” or because we’re environmentalists or because I was trying to make a statement, or take advantage of carpool lanes (Louisiana has none); it was simple for me to decide. We were beginning to do a lot of travel, racking up tons of miles and the S-10′s 17 mpg wasn’t cutting it on my thin wallet. So the experiment took the knob as far in the other direction as I could to the best mpg in the market. Many people would say that the Prius gas savings don’t make up the cost difference, to which I’d say sure, if you only buy the Prius for the mpg, otherwise they can’t do math. Sure if we didn’t put miles on this thing it wouldn’t pay off, but most of all folks need to remember that the lowest level Prius wasn’t comparable to a stripped out Honda Civic at $13,000. The bottom level Prius had powe windows, locks, touch screen, 6 5 speaker system etc. so it was more appropriate to a decent Ford Taurus or a Camry or Impala. On that basis it tore up the competition back then.
At 6’3″ I needed leg room and the Prius had them beat, it also had fold-able seats as a hatchback so I could still use it like a truck. But it was comfortable and fit a lot of people AND it got great mileage (I avg. 50mpg.), so with road trips in mind we went all in to try out this hybrid experiment and along the way showed all our family/friends that cars can be nice AND get good mileage.
If I had to do it again now, I wouldn’t get a Prius today, but that’s not out of complaint; the market has simply caught up in terms of cost effectiveness. Many other makers finally got a brick to the head when the economy dropped out and people were forced to buy more efficient cars and hence we got the reborn Honda Insight, the Chevy Volts but MOST Importantly, Mazda released a whole new serious of cars with double digit increases in mpg; ford finally starting utilizing their brethren developers in Germany and reinvented the fiesta and in turn the focus which also got double digit mpg increases (all without sacrificing comfort or safety. In fact last year when we needed to replace Kelly’s old Saturn we went with without a hybrid to a Fiesta, sporty and 40mpg at almost $8k less than the modern Prius.
But all that said, I don’t have a major complaint about this car. Its been all paid for for almost 4 years now so since then all its done is help my wallet from getting skinny and we really didn’t sacrifice anything, in getting to 88,888 we’ve been able to:
Move everything we own and drive 1,100 miles across the country
Drive through Amish country into the middle of nowhere Ohio for some IndyCar and LeMans racing
Drive the winding steep roads of Skyline Drive in the Appalachian Mountains
Cruise down I-1- do Hwy 98 for a beach trip in Florida
Out to the Indy 500 and back
Driving the frozen tundra of Snowmageddon in 2010 while white women in their SUVs crashed into everything
Lay back with the hatch up for drive in movies in Stephens City, Va
Road trips to and back for Nashville, Cleveland, New York City, Davidson N.C., Cincinnati, New Brunswick, Luray Caverns, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond and many more.
If we can make it 88,888 more, I’ll take it; its been a great car, and its only 11112 away from its century mark (something I never got to with the truck).
This post has nothing to do with travel so feel free to skip it Just wanted to mention that while I don’t really believe in fate or karma, exactly 4 years ago I was finishing up what would end up being my last month working for the my last employer (an orchestra). A very hard job that took many 50-60 hour work weeks and many long nights, paid me slightly more than minimum wage, where I helped more than double their single event ticket sales and quadruple student ticket sales, but at the end of the day did it under those crazy conditions because I love music, the musicians, and the influence it has on people’s lives.
It was 4 years ago from now when my then boss decided to fire me for literally no reason other than her friend lost her job and needed one; something that still to this day puts Kelly in a murderous rage. That obviously wasn’t the reason cited but considering I had 3 years of stellar reviews results and referrals, the one cited would have never held up if I ever cared to bring it to a court. The reason I didn’t is because back then I couldn’t even be mad, it’s one of those things so ridiculous that you just can’t believe it’s real. You’re just dumbfounded at the fact that people are allowed to be that stupid for so long without consequences (though I’d later find out her friend eventually quit because she couldn’t stand her batshit crazy boss, and that the same person would later be forced out of the organization when everyone else quit and the bottom line swung into the red).
Looking back on it today, I couldn’t be more thankful that it happened; sure it took me 7 months unemployed to find the right job, but I did. It’s because 7 years ago I found Kelly, who 4 years ago was an awesome supportive wife who brought home the bacon and let me wait till I found the right thing. Today I’m happy; I get tons of opportunities and many new ones all the time, and without the crazy hours or crap pay. Sure its hindsight, but I couldn’t be in a better position now unless maybe I won the lottery. I now know that you can be happy and do things you love and be around all good people and good rewarding situations and not all jobs are created equal.
I didn’t really have a point here but to say that “it’s always been this way” doesn’t mean something must always continue that way. Appreciating the subtleties of the butterfly effect, knowing that because things 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 years ago snowballed otherwise today wouldn’t have happened so I’m thankful to both the things that changed both the size of the snowball and the things that changed the direction of it. You need to deal with the crap situations in life so you will know how to appreciate when the good ones come along.
I have been seriously neglecting my pins in a map blogging duties, but we are so excited because… we’re going to Europe!!! We are still working out some of the details, but we’ve booked the main flights and cities. We’ll be visiting a few cities in Italy, starting with Rome, then moving onto Greece, then Turkey before heading back to Rome to come home.
We also ordered a Flip HD video camera to help document the trip. It should be here on Wednesday so we’ll have plenty of time to master it before we head out.
I’ll have more posts to come in the next few weeks detailing some of the cities we’ll be seeing.
It really saddens me to watch what has been happening to airline travel over the past decade. Obviously, by having this site, I’m a huge proponent of exploration of any kind, from small/large road trips, cruises, and of course flying for long-distance travel.
Its why I truly can’t understand what the Department of Homeland Security thought it would accomplish when it introduced groping, fondling and molestation to the required list of pat-down procedures. I really don’t know how better to word it, but that is exactly what the new procedures are.
Personally though I travel a lot, I have not yet been asked to go through the invasive x-ray’s that allow random security people to see you naked, nor have I gone through the gropings. This has been by sheer luck, I’ve been through a few airports that had the new invasive scanners, but none of them have required all passengers to go through (I assume because of the additional time it takes). Should I be asked I certainly will opt out as I have no interest in subjecting myself to radiation that our own doctors are saying have not been proven safe. The new pat-down procedures present a conundrum though, subject yourself to unnecessary radiation, or subject yourself to an unnecessary fondling without the courtesy of a few dates to get to know each other.
Like anyone else, its not an issue of having something to hide, and personally for myself it has nothing to do with embarrassment, its simple liberty. Its my body, and I get to control who sees/touches it. The crazy thing is that my opinion is actually pretty tame when you consider the anger out there, and the anger is rightfully placed.
But national Opt-Out day is not what the TSA or airlines have to worry about. They have to worry about this:
I currently have plane tickets purchased for a future trip. Unless the lose/lose invasion of privacy security options are gotten rid of, those will be the last airline tickets I ever purchase. That’s no exaggeration, we’ve driven over 1,100 mile trips before, and we’ll gladly do it again and again, and all without the need to subject ourselves to ridiculous restrictions on how much toothpaste we can carry nor invasion of our privacy and ridiculous delays; and there are a lot of people with that mentality.
My suggestion to people who have an option, opt out of the nude x-rays if you have to fly. But if you can, take this time to discover what’s within a car’s reach, or re-discover travel by train; they are both very realistic options, and there are plenty things around to discover that a plane flies over.