By Mike Loughrin, CEO, Transformance Advisors
Just about every bicycle riding enthusiast has heard of rails-to-trails, the wonderful practice of turning abandoned rail road lines into linear parks for biking, walking, or whatever.
The first documented rails-to-trails was created in 1965 on a former Chicago and North Western Railway segment running from Elroy to Sparta in Wisconsin. This is one of the most famous trails and is on the bucket list for most serious bikers.
The trail is 32.5 miles in length with 34 bridges and three tunnels carved through solid rock. The Kendall and Wilton tunnels are 1/4 mile long and the Norwalk tunnel is just over 3/4 mile long. The tunnels are dark and cool, with water from springs above the tunnels trickling down onto the trail.
It was on my bucket list and I am pleased to announce that I have make the pilgrimage and accomplished my goal.
Even better than my original plan, I added on the 400 State Trail which runs from Reedsburg to Elroy. This added 22 miles to the trip. The 400 trail was part of the same Chicago and North Western Railway tracks as the Elroy to Sparta trail. It is named after the advertisement of day, claiming you could travel 400 miles from Chicago to Minneapolis in just 400 minutes. Today’s Amtrak Empire Builder takes 471 minutes using a different route.
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