The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Published 9.17.15

About 40 years ago I was on a bike-camping trip in Wisconsin.  We biked the Elroy-Sparta Trail, one of the very first “rails-to-trails” bike paths in the country.  Because this part of Wisconsin is somewhat hilly, the now-abandoned train track tunneled through some of the hills.  One tunnel is more than a mile long, and it is pitch black in the middle of the tunnel.  As bikers, we had to walk our bikes through the tunnel with flashlights in hand.

Legend has it that former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson was personally involved in raising the funds necessary to build this marvelous bike trail.  He assembled a group of politicians and potential donors and, along with several of his aides, led the group into the tunnel with flashlights.  When the group got half way into the tunnel, he signaled his aides to turn off the flashlights, leaving the group in total darkness.  Then, an aide to the Governor turned on a tape recorder with a recording of a locomotive bearing down on the group.  After a few moments of sheer terror, the necessary funds were extracted to build the bike trail.

This brings me to Southwest Florida and the wet, hot summer of 2015.  August and early September have been unusually rainy, but temperatures are finally beginning to ease.  Forecasts indicate the rains may also abate in the next few days.  We think this is the light at the end of the summer that we have been waiting for, and not a hurricane bearing down.  Personally, I am ready for a dried out golf course and clear skies for biking.