On a recent autumn trip, we enjoyed a bike ride on the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
Before the railroad arrived in Cape Cod, the area was an isolated, narrow strip of land jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. The Old Colony Railroad Company laid tracks in the 1800s, connecting Boston with Provincetown, at the far tip of the Cape. Visitors came to the Cape by trainloads, and food and supplies chugged into the Cape to keep up with the needs of all the people.
But then came the 1900s and cars and bridges over the Cape Cod Canal. The heyday of the trains passed. The rails are paved over now, the trains long gone.
The good news is the paved rail trail is open to bike riders, walkers, runners, even horseback riders. What a beautiful trail it is! In the woods, along the water, through towns with romantic names like Brewster, Harwich, and Wellfleet.
We stopped in the fishing town of Orleans, where we found this little restaurant decorated with lobster pot buoys. I assume these are “retired” buoys, and some are faded and chipped. Others still pop with color. These are quintessential Cape Cod.
We stopped to eat our picnic lunch on a bench under the canopy of trees. We rode until rain came and soaked us. We dropped off our bikes, drenched not only with rain but also with the happiness of being a part of this land rich in history and beauty.
We prepare, we build, we forge careers or businesses. They may or may not last our whole lives. Maybe children came along and our priorities changed. Maybe an illness or injury happened. Maybe it’s simply the passing of years.
We may start out as railroad tracks and end up as bike paths. What matters is that we can still bring a smile to those around us.