Category Archives: Cars

Turned Over 200,000

At 8:35 a.m. today, high atop the ***Tobin Bridge|***, my trusty 1994 Toyota Camry LE turned over 200,000 miles. Sadly, I was not in the car to witness this event. Becky had to drive my car in to Boston today since her Golf is having exhaust problems, but she was sweet enough to call me on the phone and give me a first-hand narrated account of the turnover. The turnover occurred just before she went into the tollbooth. Though I am sad to have missed the occasion, I am happy that my car has made it this far.

The car was originally purchased by my grandfather, Clark Keefer (my mom’s dad, Pop-Pop to us grandkids). He put the bulk of the miles on it, and took fantastic care of it. He retired the car in 2000, with about 147,000 miles on it. I received it as a gift in the spring of 2000, and I have since logged 53,000 of my own miles on it. That’s an average of 11,778 miles per year, or 226.5 miles per week. Appropriately, the Camry turned over 180,000 miles last August while we were driving to Pennsylvania for Pop-Pop’s 80th birthday celebration.

On an average day, I drive the Camry roughly 10 miles – the round trip from home to work and back. We frequently make trips into Boston, Cape Cod, and other parts of New England. Our longest trip, however, was a journey from Woburn, Mass to Dunedin, Florida for our friend ***Joanna|***’s wedding. That was over 3,000 miles round trip, and the Camry even made the trip with a crack in the radiator which I didn’t know about until I returned to Mass.

The Camry isn’t an exciting car to be sure – not fast, not sporty, not cool, not rugged. But it is what I need in a car: dependable, long-lasting, comfortable, spacious, and excellent gas mileage after all these years.

Here’s to the Camry.

Changing a headlight on the way to Dunedin, Florida|ppp

On the beach in Dunedin, Florida|ppp

Before a trip from Beverly to Mount Vernon|ppp

Getting ready for our Route 62 Adventure|ppp

Chilling out in snowy Jackson, NH|ppp

You can get a full view of the Camry ***here|***. Though I wasn’t able to take a photo when it turned over 200,000 miles, I hope to take one later tonight when Becky returns.


Thanks to an inexpensive aftermarket eBay part, free labor from Ken, and a few pointers from the Haynes ’92-’96 Camry repair manual, the driver’s side window in my car is working once again! Hooray! No more opening the door when going through toolbooths or drive-thrus!

In other news, the web-based newsfeed aggregator ***Bloglines|*** is ***celebrating its first birthday|***. In celebration, they have revamped the look and feel of their site, and have introduced some new features. The most notable of these is called the Clip Blog, which allows you to post to a blog hosted at Bloglines, and is directly integrated with the blog reading service. When you read a new blog item in bloglines, you can easily post about it in your Bloglines clip blog by clicking a simple link. Take a look at ***my clip blog|*** for an example.

I use Bloglines every day to help keep me up to date with websites all over the net, without the hassle of visiting every website. I prefer it to newsreaders such as ***NetNewsWire|*** on the Mac and ***SharpReader|*** on the PC simply because the interface is the same no matter where I go, and I can access it from any web browser without the need to install a piece of software.

If you are a Bloglines user, you can easily subscribe to World Wide Wood by using the special Bloglines links on the left hand side of our page. Of course, you can also manually subscribe in Bloglines or in your preferred newsreader with the other RSS links, also located to the left.

“What is this? A center for ants?”

The subject of my post today comes from a movie Becky and I recently watched on TBS, ***Zoolander|***. A decidedly goofy movie starring the goofy Ben Stiller, the story revolves around a past-his-prime male model being brainwashed by a clothing designer and used to assassinate the prime minister of Malaysia, who is planning to introduce sweeping changes in child labor laws which would aversely impact the revenues of clothiers worldwide. If you like bizarre humor and can stand Ben Stiller, it’s a good laugh.

Becky and I also recently saw ***Shrek 2|***, a very funny computer-animated movie which relies on a different genre of humor. In Shrek 2, the pop culture references and satire are fast and furious, and I’d say they make up about half of the movie’s laugh quotient. The other half is covered mainly by the hilarious personalities crafted by the movie’s leading men: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Antonio Banderas. If you liked Shrek, you’ll certainly enjoy Shrek 2.

In other news, my 1994 Toyota Camry just rolled over 193,000 miles this week. That’s almost 20,000 miles per year – well above the national average of 15,000 miles. It is starting to show its age. Last week, I attempted to roll down the driver’s side window. There was some ker-chunking, and the window ground about halfway down and then started slowly sliding down the rest of its way on its own. Now, that doesn’t stop me from driving the car, but it’s certainly annoying to drive in the rain with a window down.

So I took my car in to the local Toyota dealer to have them look at the window. They said it needed a new window motor and regulator assembly, and the cost was a bit more than I was hoping to pay, so I had them just put the window back together in the “up” position. This way, as long as I don’t hit the window button, the window will stay up and protect me from the elements. It is annoying at toolbooths and drive-throughs, but there are at least work-arounds. However, the Toyota dealer also indicated that there were some other problems with my car that should be fixed – CV-Boots and wheel bearings should be replaced, and the front and rear brakes both need some work.

I wanted to get a second opinion, so I decided to take my car to a local shop which Becky has used before, ***Auto-Dyne|***. The nice thing about Auto-Dyne is that they are located directly next to our apartment building, so we can actually walk right from our parking lot into theirs. 🙂 They checked my car out this morning, and did agree with the dealership that the brake job was an immediate necessity, but gave me a much lower estimate for the parts and labor. They disagreed, that the CV-Boots and wheel bearings were in urgent need or repair. So right now they’re putting on new pads and rotors in front, and new shoes in back, and I hope to have it back by the end of the day.

The window problem I’m just going to live with for now. Like I said, there are work-arounds and I just can’t justify paying a lot of money for something that isn’t essential to the operation of the car. For example, the front left speaker doesn’t work, the back right window doesn’t go up or down, the dashboard lights for the heating/cooling system don’t work, and half of the driver’s door handle is broken off. All annoying, to be sure, but just not worth my time and money to get them repaired. As long as the car goes when I tell it to go, stops when I tell it to stop, and doesn’t go exploding on me, I’m happy.

I expect the car to perform just fine when, in a little over two weeks, Becky and I drive out to Ohio. We are looking forward to our time out there, seeing my family and having a nice relaxing time in the heartland. We are also going to be stopping in ***Niagara Falls|*** on the way back, which should be fun.

In still other news, Microsoft announced today that they will be upping the storage limit on their free Hotmail webmail accounts to ***250 megabytes|***. They join ***Yahoo!|*** and ***Google|*** in the ongoing webmail wars to bring more resources to users.

Speaking of which, I was recently the recipient of a Gmail account invitation. Sadly, it did not come from any of our faithful blog readers, but rather from my pal ***rjackson|*** over at ***BBR|***, who may or may not regularly read my blog. Anyway, I have to say that Gmail is certainly the most responsive and least intrusive of the free webmail services that I’ve tried. As I mentioned in a ***previous post|***, their 1 GB mail limit isn’t particularly compelling, but their Javascript-based interface and innovative conversation-style message grouping deserves some credit. If, for some reason, you’d like to email me at Gmail, my address is peter.r.wood at gmail dot com. On the whole, though, I’m still happy using ***IMP|*** to read my email via the web when necessary, and Mozilla’s excellent ***Thunderbird|*** mail client to read my email when I’m at work or at home.

I could probably write more, but this entry has grown quite long and unruly… the end!