Wheels are very high on my list of desirables. Wheels are one of the most important parts of a bike. Wheels fail and you stop. Saddle/seatpost fail, ride standing up. Bars break, ride one handed. Pedals break, ride one footed. Gearing breaks, ride one speed. Spokes break, and you may be stopped.
While I understand the rhetorical concept of emphasis through exaggeration, this may be carrying things a bit far. Seatpost failed, I was afraid I'd forget and sit (ouch!). Stopped and got a lift. Stem broke, limped five miles to local repair shop (OK, my garage). Crank broke, rode one-footed half a mile to work and called my wife for a ride home. Right leg ached for 2-3 days after that one.
Spoke breaks? I've probably ridden 50-100 miles like that, with multiple breaks. Open the brake if necessary and keep riding. (Helps if you have a reasonable number of spokes, of course!) The fix is to learn to tension and stress relieve a wheel, or find someone who can do it. Either way, a wheel is ultimately a consumable item; they will wear out and can be replaced easily.
Back to the OP, I think either a touring bike or a 'cross bike could fit your needs. Rail-trails will drive you to wider tires, although 40 is really wide for most rail trails. If most of your riding will be on roads, that would drive me away from a hybrid -- you'll want to make sure you're flexible enough to enjoy drop bars, though. All in all, the Cannondale Touring sounds like a reasonable choice for you.