Packing the Prius

Why in the world would we choose to drive at least 5000 miles round trip? (I guess we’ll keep track for those who care.) Why take more than a week to get somewhere when we could fly there in less than a day? This began with some convoluted rationalizing.

Baby Sprout could be born anytime within a 30 day period.

  1. There was no way to pick dates for airline tickets.
  2. Refundable tickets were expensive.
  3. We might have to rent a car for as long as a month.
  4. We had only ever taken one road trip (Florida to Maine) and loved staying with friends up and down the coast.
  5. We’ve never visited friends in the “great flyover” and realized we had special people along the route in north Florida, Louisiana, Kansas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, California, and beyond.
  6. If we “mooched” along the way, we would not have to spend more than 8 hours a day in the car.
  7. We could take as much stuff as we wanted.***
  8. And the number one reason: Barkleigh could come along.

Several wise friends have pointed out the folly of this plan and we’ll be happy to allow them to say “I told you so” after the fact. Others think we should be buying or renting a camper. Then there is the question of finding pet friendly friends and hotels. But we like a challenge.

Once the idea struck, we realized that our 1l-year-old Prius would not be a reliable companion. It had 120,000 miles and its battery life was coming to an the end. Also there were some gasping and wheezing noises from the transmission . So on December 31—allegedly the best day of the year to buy a car—we bought a 2015 Prius. I guess we should have bought the slightly larger model, but we opted for the same size we had previously. It drives wonderfully and should be the “cheapest” way to do this trip—if one does not consider that buying a new car trumped whatever airfare or car rental fees by a ridiculous margin.

***And while weight won’t be a factor, we can only take as much stuff as will fit into the Prius. Even Phil’s tiny Honda Fit, fits more due to the squarish rear and clever deep storage when you flip the back seat.

Josh and Giulia have requested a items that didn’t fit into their Airstream like, ah, a lathe! And his winemaking equipment and jugs and… Not going to happen. Even with a roof rack–which has been discussed and nixed by Phil due to expense and drilling holes in our new car’s roof.  (For the record, I want one.)  We have been shipping baby supplies handed down from Ashley and numerous other items. (I won’t include shipping costs into our trip cost calculations.) I do have a selection of Josh’s most precious baby things including some items that date back to baby Robin in case it is a girl. But how much to bring now?

I am not known for my frugal packing skills and claim that packing light is “against my religion.” I believe in having something for every climate zone, medical emergency, and social occasion. While I concede that there will be no “formal evenings” on the ranch, the recent blizzards are terrifying me into being able to survive North Pole to Equator conditions.

So there will a larger bag with various layers, probably in zipped plastic bags—the kind that come with new pillows or blankets—to store each “season.” (We use these bags when we travel on Yacht Tethys with the Gladus. First, they keep everything dry in case of leaks and they keep various items segregated because we have to stow them in small spaces.) I’m restricting myself to purple, black, and gray and one carry-on size bag to remove from the car nightly. I can rearrange the contents of that bag by adding clean undies and clothes based on the weather report. Plus one tote bag that will contain our bed pillows—a luxury of car travel. Then there will be a duffel bag for coats, boots, hats, gloves, scarves, raincoats, and snowshoes, bear whistle, ice scraper, scuba gear, and flares. (Just kidding about some of these items.)

Then we will need the following electronics: 1 Mac laptop, 1 PC laptop, 1 iPad, 2 Kindles, 2 iPhones, GPS, and all the various chargers and batteries, plus a multi-plug strip. Not to mention audio tapes for the car. More on how we shall amuse ourselves in a later post. Phil will surely add a camera bag to capture Sprout’s first seconds, hours, days. He might even take a few shots of the landscape along the way.

Of course we a bringing a bag of hostess gifts and Barkleigh’s accoutrements including a folding crate (required in some hotel rooms), his food and snacks in sealed containers that he can’t open when left in the car for awhile, towels, bedding, stuffed toys, chew toys, his medicines (he has ear problems and seizures), leashes, his therapy dog vest, his collar, harness, and poop bags. I wonder if I should buy him a coat and boots.

Then there will be a small food bag/cooler, our own medical supplies, first aid, map book in case the GPS satellites go down, and …. I know we are forgetting something! Please contribute items we MUST include in the comments section.

Eventually I will post the Precious Packed Prius Photo.

Featured image

Today Barkleigh would like to feature Josh and Giulia’s English Springer Spaniel Gryphon—his best friend. He will be excited to be reunited and learn how to chase (I mean herd) goats with him.


2 thoughts on “Packing the Prius

  1. We don’t think you are crazy to drive. We did it from Maine to Florida and loved it. The only thing I can think of you haven’t included is the kitchen sink!


  2. Ask Nina about our drive from Denali, Alaska to Phoenix in her 2007 Prius with rocket box on top. Her Prius had 102,000+ miles when she bought it several years ago. It’s still going strong and is in Belleview, Wash at the moment.


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