So, my major coast-to-coast adventure is finished. Actually, I arrived in Beaverton, Oregon on Monday. It took four days of driving to cross the country. Since then I’ve been unpacking just as much as necessary and setting up. But so yes, InsanIT.net will be coming back to life shortly!
So how did my Prius do? Well, at speed limits sometimes as high as 75 MPH, loaded down with the weight of all of my junk in the car so that I could barely see out the rear window, going up and down mountains, and doing this in freezing temperatures when the Prius keeps the engine running so that you have heat, I still managed to average 41.7 MPG for the trip! I’d like to see any other car manage that!
But it darn near killed me. The ’06 Toyota Prius at least has an only marginally acceptable comfort for long-distance drives. I’m not thinking that Toyota has been likely to fix that in any of the later models either, but if that’s so, I’d love to hear about it. The seat is cheap, with minimal adjustments possible. It’s only comfortable for short drives. The steering, likewise. All it does is adjust the tilt, which I guess is better than nothing, but not by much. And the pedals, those aren’t adjustable at all. Which might be okay if the gas wasn’t such a different distance than the brake. It really makes me long for my old Mercury Sable with its power adjustable seat with more adjustment points than you can shake a stick at (including lumbar). Or the simplicity of a tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel.
So through the long drive, my back would get sore. Then my shoulders would get sore. There was no comfortable way to sit that supported my back and didn’t over-extend my arms. Not for the kind of hours I was putting in behind that wheel.
How did I survive it then? I’ll tell ya’. There’s a special trick…
Yes, that’s right, a simple throw pillow made the drive survivable. One of those throw pillows that’s a long roll shape. A small one that is nice and soft. Not only can you cram it behind you to use as a lumbar support, but you can also rest it on your lap to use as an arm rest. Just switch it back and forth between those two positions and you can drive your Prius for well over 12 hours at a time, days in a row, without going overly sore. Some adventurous types might even try for two pillows … though to be honest I think you’d need a much smaller one for the lumbar support because there’s just not enough space to position yourself with two pillows otherwise. The Prius has a roomy interior … but not once you start adding your own pillows.
So there you have it, the secret to my success.