February 12th: New York City was buzzing on this day 100 years ago as 250,000 people gathered to send off the American team in an unprecedented around-the-world automobile race from New York to Paris. The U.S. entry was a Thomas Flyer, facing national entries from France, Italy and Germany. It was the longest such race in history and one that would prove the durability of the automobile. Much of the course was in bitter winter weather and over land that had no roads. Crossing Siberia, the driver, George Schuster, used a sextant and a compass to navigate. After 169 days, the triumphant Thomas Flyer entered Paris, having covered 22,000 miles. Today, the average passenger car travels a little over 12,000 miles a year. You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau on the Web at www.census.gov.