And So the Journey Begins


Last week the Command and I made the uncharacteristically snap decision (well, for him anyway) to trade in the Nanamobile for this snazzy little Prius C. Believe me, it is much more my style – loud, edgy, and in-your face…er, trendy and colorful and zippy. I love orange and I love “sticking it to the man”, er, getting one over on the gas companies, er, getting great gas mileage and I LOVE sporty looking little cars and this fits the bill on all counts.


That’s how I found myself back home with my lovely orange “Tigger” one week before heading off to Michigan and then Minnesota with Mom’s cremains. It has been wonderful to begin to learn all the intricacies of this little car and how to drive it the most efficiently to get the best gas mileage. I love having the gas economy screen showing so that I can glance occasionally over and see if I’m running on hybrid power or coasting and charging the battery or using strictly the gas engine. And this time around, the sound system works great with my iPhone.

Two nights ago I packed up the Prius to get ready for the jaunt out to Minnesota to bury Mom’s cremains. When you fold down the seats, there is a surprising amount of room. I left plenty of room for my brother’s things since I’ll be picking him up in Michigan.


My trusty little co-pilot, Elizabeth hopped into the front seat and one short sleep and a coffee mug filled up and I was ready to head out. Oh, my! The Commander had entered all of my addresses into the GPS system of the Prius earlier so all I had to do was pick my brother’s address and press “Start” and I headed down our street. “MAKE A LEFT IN 50 FEET,” screamed a voice at me. Sheesh, I was so startled that I almost drove over our neighbor’s curb. I quickly pulled over to the side of the street and started pressing icons, trying to figure out how to lower the volume on the built-in navigation system. I thought I had it figured out but “Frau Do-As-I-Command” ordered me to turn left at the stop sign again and I had no recourse but to turn the whole darn thing off and just switch to one of my Audible books. Whew! What a relief!

I hit rain shortly after I started on the turnpike but it wasn’t too bad. It got steadily heavier across Pennsylvania but the little car was doing great. I was clocking mileage between 53-58 mpg. I wasn’t pushing the car either. I decided to just hold it pretty steady around 55-60 mph and let the rest of the world whiz by. They could burn through gas like idiots. I wanted to enjoy the view and see what my little baby could do through the mountains of western Pennsylvania and then out on the Ohio Turnpike.


A quick stop at a rest stop and refueling with a Starbucks brownie (oh, and $14-worth of gas, too) and I was good to go again. I decided to start the navigation system back up and just live with the yelling but it dawned on me about halfway across Ohio that I hadn’t heard a peep out of Frau “You WILL turn here.” I fiddled with the loudspeaker icon again and yikes, she was soon booming out. It seemed to be all or nothing with her. I made my turns off of the Turnpike and began the trek up through Toledo and towards Michigan. It was REALLY pouring now and I found myself wondering how Mom had done it all those years as she was in her late 70’s and early 80’s in a full-size conversion van, no less. That got me to thinking how much I had been looking forward to the time when I was retired and could travel at any moment with Mom. Then it hit me….I WAS traveling with Mom, just not in the manner I had imagined. Oh, just great! Now it was not only pouring outside, but the tears were pouring inside as well.

One last stop (requisite picture of my “Tigger” but believe me, it was NOT sunny) for gas (this time it was just $2.80 worth of gas) and I headed off into the cattle chute that is the Detroit area freeway. Of course it was rush hour and by this time, a horrible storm had struck and it was raining so hard that I could barely see the road. I had to laugh at the sign that said, “Please do NOT exceed 50 mph around this curve.” We all were barely going 5 mph. From the time I hit the Detroit city limits to the time I came through the other side to my brother’s town (a northern suburb of Detroit), it took me 2 ½ hours to drive through that stretch. It was a nightmare. It didn’t help that Frau “YOU WILL DO AS I SAY” was screaming at me, trying to get me to head off at different junctures that I did not want to take. I also noticed that the screen hadn’t moved since I turned off the Ohio Turnpike. Hmmm, yet the Frau was spot-on with her voice commands. I obviously had hit some button that froze the screen. I froze the Frau and switched to music. Thank goodness that I knew where I was going. I think I need to look at that manual again. On the plus side, my last leg of the trip through Ohio and all of that stop-and-go traffic , I managed to get over 60 mpg with my little Prius. I am LOVING this car.

I finally pulled up into my brother’s driveway and he helped me unload. He carried one little bag into the house as I was heading back out to bring in more things. “Sheesh, what is in this bag?” he asked me. “It weighs a ton.”

“It’s Ma,” I replied.

Oh, boy. This is going to be a fun trip.


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