The reception committee has had as hard a time as the racers themselves had from New York. It has been a case of snowdrift after snowdrift, with the machines plowing through snow without the drivers knowing really through what or where they were going. Driver Banta needs the care of a doctor for his eyes, as he is suffering from an attack of snow blindness. He arrived in Chesterton with his goggles frozen to his face and his clothes sticking. At that the car came only eight miles, being stuck at McCool, where it was met by mechanics from Chicago and the car was repaired. Banta made the most wonderful kind of a drive during the blizzard Tuesday evening, with a man walking in front with a lantern. Banta drove with a full load through drifts that were ten feet high at times.
The adventures of the committee are not complete without reference to C. L. Swinenberg, of McCool, who harbored the Chicagoans for 24 hours and then helped them through six feet of snow in front of his farm before they were under way for the east.
Unless the arrangements are changed again the New York-Paris racers will pass through Chesterton instead of Valparaiso as originally intended. On Tuesday evening some of the globe girdling party were in Cleveland, while others were scattered between that point and Buffalo, N. Y. It is hardly possible that the party will reach Chesterton before the latter part of the week, if then.
Wednesday afternoon Driver Banta saw the futility of attempting to make any further headway against the present conditions and storing his machine in the Weaver-Lawson livery barn returned to Chicago with his friends to await developments. It is possible that he may abandon the trip entirely and ship his machine back to Chicago from here.
John Kingsley, representing the Chicago Tribune, who was with the Picard party, writes as follows of the trip from Chicago to Michigan City: "Paul Picard, in the pilot car sent out by the Chicago Motor club to meet the New York to Paris racers, reached Michigan City this afternoon after two days and a night spent in fighting the terrible roadways of northern Indiana. The last seven miles was made through drifts in the face of a blizzard which almost shut from view the trees and fences along the roadside. Mr. Picard returned to Chicago convinced that further travel was impossible until the storm passes.
"The trip from Chicago has been the hardest that either Picard or Banta ever has experienced. On the average of every half mile it was necessary to call upon a farmer for the aid of his team in extricating the machine from big drifts. Block and tackle are brought into use.
"The crews of both cars spent the best part of the day and night shoveling snow. In one place it was necessary for Mr. Picard to hire four horses to pull out of a drift. Most of the whiffletrees in this part of the state are either broken or cracked, and last night, Mr. Picard, who had his daughter, Miss Paulette Picard, in the car with him, found it necessary to rouse a farmer at midnight and apply for a place for shelter. The half frozen party stretched out in robes on the parlor floor all night.
"M. Picard has not abandoned his trip, but will return for his car in a day or two. The big Matheson which he drove broke its chain twice and its radiating shaft once. These accidents caused delays of hours in the road while the mechanics tinkered.
"The difficulty of automobile traveling lies in the way the snow packs under the body of the car, leaving the wheels to spin in the empty air. Whenever the wheels touch ground, space is devoured with alarming rapidity. The roads between Michigan City and South Bend are said to be worse than those already gone over."
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Posted 16th August, 1999. Reposted 13th April, 2004, after being knocked off-line four years ago.