These days, truckers are guided by GPS. We rarely venture off route. We go the most efficient way. Venturing off route costs fuel, money and sometimes a ticket. Now, I do most of my exploring without diesel. Sometimes while waiting to get loaded I slip on the running shoes and search for a shortcut. Some days I think there is a place to go and I go searching for it.
Saturday was one of those “go look for it” days. I knew that the Military Ridge State Trail runs along U.S. Highway 151 where I was driving. I knew that there is a small truckstop in Barneveld, Wis. So, I pulled my truck into the lot and got my bike out. I always get the looks from four-wheelers and other truckers when I do this. I find this entertaining in itself. Five minutes later I was heading out of the truckstop in search of the trail. It took about three minutes for me to find it.
This trail is constantly tunneling through the trees. Occasionally, you ride over a wooden bridge that spans a small creek. I often picture what it was like when those old steam trains would run on the same path that I am using. I just get into my own little world. I am not exercising. I am exploring. I am playing.
About 20 minutes into the ride a sign caught my attention. It was the entrance to Blue Mound State Park. So, I took it. Uphill for a mile, and my calves were sore for three days. The sign read, “Towers this way.” The park features two tall observation towers. I climbed them both. They had incredible views of the Wisconsin Uplands that were somehow skipped over by the glaciers.
Exercise can be play. This type of play would not be possible without putting in some effort to exercise regularly. The views from those towers were worth every bit of sweat that I dropped. Being in shape can open up new worlds. On this day I sure was glad that it did.
Check out www.rideandroll.me or www.railstotrails.org and other sites to find these trails. Let me know if you find trails near truck parking.
Jeff Clark is a trucker, a grandfather and an eight-time marathon (26.2 miles) finisher. He is dedicated to helping truckers improve their health through better habits. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://twitter.com/marathontrucker.