I’ve had my shiny red Prius from the Prius Challenge about two weeks but my driving so far was in the Phoenix area. It seemed time to give this thing more of a challenge and decided to throw some mountains at it.
I love Arizona, or specifically different places in Arizona, but I am not a fan of driving. I get grumpy sitting for so long in one place, especially on our long, boring freeways. Having the new Prius gave me an excuse to get out and put down some miles.
We went with two other couples, and had two cars between us so swapped people around as we went. We initially drove from Phoenix to Prescott, where we spent the first night. The Prius did great on the climb, up the hills but did switch into Power mode a few times when things got steep. We sadly had nearly a 90 minute break when a semi caught fire and closed the whole freeway. I’ve never seen anything like it – the entire thing melted down to the engine block. Fortunately the driver go out safely. We things were being cleaned up we turned off the car and hung out chatting with other bored motorists.
The second day we took the super-winding US Route 89A to historic Jerome, over to crazy Sedona, and up to cool and relaxed Flagstaff. Oak Creek Canyon was pouring rain, and the Prius handled like a champ. We rode a brief stretch on famous US Route 66 while we were there, but mainly checked out the local eateries, breweries, and stores. I think the only chain place we spent any money on the entire trip was the gas station when we filled up on our way out.
I’m a huge fan of supporting local businesses. Not just to keep money in Arizona, but also because that’s where I find the most interesting things to eat, drink, and buy.
The Cherry Bomb (the nickname for this shiny red Prius) even managed to get 48 mpg over our 365 mile trip. I was a little surprised by this as it seems to do much better in the city than on the mountain roads, but I’m guessing the long downhill run from Flagstaff (7000 ft) to Phoenix (1124 ft) helped that number out. We did the entire trip on less that one tank of gas and had a great time.
Don’t forget to enter to win!
If you haven’t checked out the Prius Challenge AZ web site yet, get on over there. You can see what the other Prius Challenge Team is up to, and register to win a brand new Prius c. Get your picture taken with the Cherry Bomb and get 4 more entries in the contest, so bug me about it if you see me driving it around!