Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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20,000 miles

20,000 milesLast week when we came back from Southpoint Mall with Joost and Ankie the odometer reached 20,000 miles.

We've had the car for a year.


All turns

All turns sign.So I learned a new traffic sign today.

I was recommended a restaurant a few miles from the hotel. I took a good look at Google maps and remembered how to drive. It wasn't hard: a few miles down the road, make a right on Kennedy, and it's right there.

It was a busy 4 lane road, and I saw an interesting sign: "All turns from right lane". Once I approached Kennedy street, I realized that I should move to the right lane, which looked like a highway exit. I took the exit and came on Kennedy. So far, so good, but somehow I missed the entrance to the shopping mall where the restaurant was and I decided to make a loop, go back over the 4 lane road and just try it again.

However, left turns weren't allowed. I figured I'd just take make a U-turn a little later on the 4-lane road and then go back. But every time there was a place to go left, there was a sign "No U-turns", "No U-turns". It got really annoying and it was almost 10 minutes later before I had a chance to make a U-turn. It was only when I stopped at a traffic light that I realized I could have used any of those "All turns" exits to make my U-turn...

I reached the restaurant, a New York style Italian place and had a great lasagna for dinner.


Driving in NYC

Don't honk.The plane landed in Newark on schedule this morning. At the airport we went to National, a car rental place to pick up our car. We got a Toyota Corolla... so small! I could hardly fit in the driver's seat. Later I adjusted the wheel so at least it wasn't on my knees anymore but it was still pretty tight. Last summer when we were buying our car we were also considering a Corolla; I'm glad we went with its bigger brother, the Camry.

From Newark it was a 20 minute drive to Secaucus. It took slightly longer because I took a wrong turn, but over-all the trip went smoothly. We met with Jonathan, Irena and Ilana and spent the late morning together. In the afternoon we all went to New York, and I drove!

It was really nice to drive in New York City, and it was very different than driving at home. I quickly got used to it and I enjoyed it a lot. The distance between cars, I learned, should be as small as possible ("bumper to bumper") and the horn is there for a reason. I think I managed quite well to adjust and also kept the car and everybody in it safe. We went for a walk in Soho and we had a good time together. We parked 2 hours and payed $24.00... another difference with North Carolina.


Tire pressure

Tire gauge.Today I added air to our car's tires for the first time.

We've driven around 9500 miles with the car now and last time a warning light for the tire pressure came on just before the service appointment, and I wanted to take action earlier this time.

A week ago or so I bought a tire pressure gauge -a fancy digital one- but the gauge in the air hose at the gas station was much easier to use. For some reason my digital gauge didn't give a reading on two of the tires, only after trying 6 or 7 times it worked.

It cost me $1.50 in quarters because it took a while before I had it all figured out, but now the pressure in all the tires is nicely around 30 psi.

When I drove away from the gas station I could feel the difference, or at least I imagined I could feel it.


Saw a traffic accident

This morning I went to work a bit later after an early conference call. When I drove on the I-40 I saw a car crashing in front of me.

The driver lost of control over the car somehow, perhaps a blowout. The car swerved back and forth for a few seconds and then hit another car and bounced off the road. It happened in the lane in front of me, but I was far way enough to evade the car next to the crashed one that came to an emergency stop.

I pulled over to the other side of the road and called the police. I was about half mile away, but luckily it seemed that the driver of the car was okay. I saw him standing outside the car a bit later.

I was parked on the side of the highway and the police operator told there was no need for me to stay, so after a few minutes I waited for a gap between passing cars and joined traffic again.


Washing the car

Washing the car.Saturday morning I washed our car. After the winter weather we had here the car had gotten pretty dirty.

It was very cold but it was rewarding to wash off all the dirt and see the difference before and after the car wash.


NC license

This morning I went to the DMV to get a new driver's license.

In many states, including North Carolina, new state residents have to apply for that state's driver's license. I went to the DMV office in Durham.

Based on my experience in Virginia where there are usually huge lines I arrived around 7.30 am, and when it opened at 8.00 am I was one of the first people in line. It was a much smaller DMV though, and there were only 20 people or so in line. hings went smoothly and I passed my computer based test.

I had to surrender my Virginia license this morning. I must say that the Virginia license is prettier than the North Carolina one, and I'm not sure that I like my picture very much.


First service appointment

Tuesday evening I went to the Fred Anderson Toyota dealership, the dealership where we bought our car 3 months ago.

We were invited for a 'New Owner Meeting', and it was also time for the first scheduled service appointment. The service appointment was at 5.30 pm, the New Owner Meeting at 6.00 pm.

Warning sign for low tire pressure.Just when I left the parking lot to drive to the dealership I saw an interesting new light come up on the dashboard. I pulled over and looked in the manual: "Low tire pressure warning", it meant. I wasn't sure if it would cause any immediate problems so I decided to drive (carefully) to the dealership. It was somewhat exciting to drive with tires that apparently didn't have enough pressure, but I didn't notice any strange behavior in the car.

Once in the dealership things went went smoothly, and they said they would take care of the tire pressure.

The New Owner Meeting was interesting. There was a simple dinner followed by a presentation on warranty, service etc and a lot of room for questions. I learned some interesting things and it was useful to attend. There is a software update available for the Camry 2007 4 cylinder now that will adjust the behavior when accelerating from low speed. Perhaps I'll have that installed a next time.

Around 7.00 pm the car was ready and I got my keys back, and the meeting was over around 7.15 pm after which we went downstairs to look around in the service department. It's very large, they can work on many cars at the same time.

Our experience with Fred Anderson has been very good so far these first 3 months (4900 miles) -- great customer service.


Great parking spot

A great parking spot.The NC State Fair is a very popular event, and I visited it on a Saturday so there was a lot of traffic.

Traffic was backed up starting on the 440, the Beltline around Raleigh. I was stuck in traffic to get to the fair grounds for a good 30 minutes.

Once arrived I saw that parking was going to be very tough. There were cars on parked on both sides of all roads, and there was a huge line of cars looking for a good spot.

And then, all of a sudden, I saw it! A great spot, tight but not too tight, at the opposite side of the road. I made an illegal U-turn and stopped to park. This took a while, because it was pretty tight after all and honestly, I just can't do parallel parking. But after some 10 times going back and forth the car was parked.

I was so proud that I took a picture; it was the most difficult spot I have ever parked at.


License plate

License plate for our car.We received the license plate for our car in the mail.

The car had a temporary (card board) license plate, and I replaced it with the real one the other day.

In North Carolina a car needs only one license plate, or tag, on the back of the car.


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