Romancing the Rural on Art Route Blue

NAVIGATING LIFE’S CROSSROADS

Traveling Through the “Art of Life” (Michelle)

Narrative by Lorrie Fleming Compiled on October 20, 2020

            Michelle’s artistic life’s vision over the course of a quarter century has elevated the bloodline of Steinbeck’s Mother Road into a borderless and timeless ‘piece of art’.  In her eloquent words “we are all traveling through the art of life”.  Art Route Blue represents art-in-motion and is defined by Michelle as “wayfinding”, a belief in a doctrine that all travelers hold an inclusive right of passage.  Our mobility may differ by the vehicle driven (whether it be the driver at the wheel, the passenger; or (remotely navigating by virtual techniques), we are all equally engaged in the biodiversity of life.

            Art & COVID are ironically mutual counterbalances that renders humankind to be inventive by reshaping our world.  The power of art levels the field and draws the landscape into a broadminded ground of passage. “Placing the dots upon the map is much like stringing the pearls on a necklace”, such meaningful words of wisdom voiced by Stacey – A key pillar of Art Route Blue.  Lacing a legacy linked by a connection to culture & creativity straddled along a linear community corridor that depicts both the inner & outer soul of Art Route Blue.

            As a senior citizen, my experience as a seasoned traveler is tremendously enhanced by the introduction of Art Route Blue injected into my life and becoming a part of something much greater that the journey itself.  Michelle and her creatives coupled with the adept insight of Stacey, collectively carved the cornerstone for a purposeful sense of direction in the manner that we are traveling.  Entertaining an instinct to roam is a quality and a driving force towards a therapeutic escape, a reset button that Art Route Blue generates for a life of mobility throughout the aging process.    

            In life’s mosaic of experiences & events, our greatest asset is the ability to venture beyond the set parameters of the present place and connect to the mystical stories that await between the lines.  Isn’t it ironic that The Artist draws out the words inside the Storyteller…And traveling through the ‘art of life’ is where my personal story shall come alive!  

Moreover, Next Page – Reflections of Trails End 2020 …

An investment in travel is an investment in yourself” ~ A fitting quote by travel blogger Matthew Karsten

Remain in a state of readiness to go somewhere…

                        Seasons drastically change, and no matter how we try to resist, the prolonged Canadian winter is creeping upon us as the calendar turns.  Our annual September summer’s end RV road trip has faded into our rear view.  However, the memories remain to be ‘on a roll’ within the places and the faces of the people who are holding on tightly to the bounty of nature.  

            Recreational activity (cycling & hiking) lead to a bevy of outdoor patios at cafes, coffee shops & roadhouses that serve and carry an energetic vibe.  Coffee is becoming a tasteful artwork, steeped with sweet conversation, and lightly sprinkled with a touch of soulful inspiration. These eateries along the roadbed are a lifeline for travelers, a place to share a homelike meal and recharge the energy for the ride back to camp.     Notwithstanding, the unique boutiques & art galleries that instill the culture into the communities, adding value and balance into the Art of ‘retail therapy’! 

            Traversing the lush sun kissed Okanagan Valley eastward along the Crowsnest Highway #3 through to the golden Boundary Country transitions harmoniously into the untouched splendor of the Kootenay Region.  Hospitality is an endless component here as history unfolds into the downtown Main Streets, characterizing each township, where linear communities are threaded tightly into the local culture & folklore to meet & greet travelers as welcome guests.   

              On these dark days of autumn, I simply open my closet and a light reaches out to seemingly ‘stitch the threads together’ into a dance set to a rhythm of time travel.   A fashionable sense of preparatory direction gives me the tools to enter a world of greatness, dressed to conquer and be transported to incredible places, for a glimpse [just for a moment] in the ‘corners of my mind’!   Armed with an inherent desire to travel draws an extended purpose for me to meet & greet like-minded folks who await along this hopeful journey.  Yes indeed, my readiness to travel is a sense of empowerment that’s reflected deeply into the ‘people, place & planet’ ingrained within my inner soul.   

            In closing, preparation for springtime is a new beginning of life on the road.  My passion for travel begins in my closet, a hemline of anticipation to find the perfect accessory for the new road ahead.  So, here’s to my fellow roadies, gather your travel ‘wish list’, pack for all seasons, fasten the seat belt, tighten up the hat strap, and roll down the windows in pursuit of a sweet ride to somewhere else.  Feel the wanderlust and get ready to soak up new cultures for a pilgrimage of travel by the will of your heart.  

Excerpts of a Seasoned Traveler.

Lorrie,

We are but a feather on this planet, be as gentle”! (Michelle Loughery Master Muralist Extraordinaire)

AR:T ROUTE CANADA

SISTERS OF THE MOTHER ROAD

A SALUTE TO EXPLORE GOLD COUNTRY TO HONOR OUR LINEAR COMMUNITIES

Penned by Lorrie Fleming April 27, 2020

            As the world struggles with climate change, economic adversity and the silent enemy of the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity awaits to reconnect, as social distancing becomes a distant point in time.

            Recently, I shared a surprising & joyful conversation with Cathryn Wilson, of the BC Achievement Foundation, to relay news of my nomination for a Community Award; and it still seems surreal!    In that regard, I am equally humbled, honored and overcome by a feeling that I have reached a juncture along this epic journey to unite the ‘Mother Road’ with BC’s ‘Gold Rush Road’.  An International Art Gateway Project envisioned & created by Master Muralist Michael Loughery is being considered to connect Rural BC along a borderless & cultural journey.  This would include portions of the TCH #1 and [Route 66, 97 & 99] adjoined as one linear community.  

            I remain speechless!  “Sometimes historic paths aren’t discovered until they’re lost”!   Such meaningful words of wisdom notated by a fellow Route 66 aficionado (Anthony Arno).  In my viewpoint of traveling on a road for so long, daylight fades into sunset; and you find yourself following headlights into the unknown.  Somewhere along the way dawns new light cast by living angels to guide us back on track.  I’m referring to my “Sisters of the Mother Road” (Michelle & Stacey creators of ‘Art Route Blue’ and Marcie & her team at ‘Explore Gold Country’).  Special acknowledgement is directed to folks like Steve & Paulette Rice, proprietors of the Historic Packinghouse Eatery, who meet & greet hungry travelers embarking on a scenic journey along an original portion of TCH roadway in Spences Bridge!

            A renown writer quoted “Not all those who wander are lost”; and I believe that we’re all just searching for a new path worth traveling!   Perhaps it’s passion that drives us to find a special place on the road.  Speaking of myself, I can neither sing, dance nor draw, but somehow the people that crossed my path (namely Michelle & Her Creatives) collectively transfer passion into energy driven by the perpetual Power of Art!  Therein lies a permanent bond to greet travelers by painted walls and voice over techniques hearing storytellers that awaken our spirits along a linear community linked by a connective corridor of neighborhoods, families and friendships.    

            Together, we’re traveling in the same direction guided by the power of passion, people & planet.  In an uplifting transformation, the ‘Mother Road meets the Mother Lode’ and we become a family.  Travel the road slowly, stop or stay to live & learn and cross the bridge of knowledge that connects the urban & rural.  Our Ancestors shall rise and show us the way… “Wisdom is the Sunlight of the Soul”! 

A lost road will remember your footsteps, for someday you may wish to return to trace the way

{Quote by Munia Khan}

LINEAR COMMUNITIES & Old is New Thematic CORRIDORS Driving A New Creative Recovery Vision By Connecting-The-Arts. .spots

RURAL REVIVAL ELEVATED TO AN ART! SPREADING SEEDS TO SUCCESS

Narrative by Lorrie Fleming
From the Diary of a Seasoned Traveler along the Roads Less Traveled…

Our highways are the stimulus to steer a renewed and creative sense of place into the heartland of our rural communities. The creative augmented reality of connecting ‘art-in-motion’ is moving closer to actuality, staged along an existing lifeline of humanity surviving between faded gridlines of our highways & byways. A fresh coat of paint is a clear solution to refresh the hopes of humanity living in small towns faced by the reality of a sluggish economy. Survival in the confines of these small towns, hidden in the shadows of cities and seemingly lost between the spaces of our society, remain to be a constant challenge and “takes a village” to achieve a renewed sense of permanence for their future. Reinventing themselves with a creative new image brushed by an injection of hand-to-land artwork stimulates sustainability for a fulfilling & healthful lifestyle that may silently be embedded within its existing foundation & infrastructure.

In the wisdom of others who have faced similar challenges in the advent of Main Streets becoming obsolete by freeways, Route 66 communities (described as a 2,448-mile linear village) was reawakened by the spirit of the folks who refused to let their towns disappear into the sunset. A rebirth of Rural America was born, and a renaissance movement began to rekindle the value of small towns and welcome back a new generation of travelers to experience the journey.

The spirited town of Seligman, after years of economic deprivation of being bypassed by a superhighway, Route 66 in a portion of Arizona State was designated a “Historic Corridor”. This amazing feat was resultant of the determination and drive of ‘The Road Guardian’, Angel Delgadillo (The Founder of the Arizona Historic Route 66 Association) and the citizens who remain proud to call the town of Seligman their home. Arizona is accredited to holding the longest remaining unbroken (158 mile) stretch of Route 66; and the preservation efforts speak to its beholden history and to the vibrant future on the road ahead.

To commemorate this historic title to honor Route 66 from Seligman to Kingman situated along this proclaimed longest stretch of remaining uninterrupted portion of the road in Arizona State, the townsites hosted a ‘Fun Run’ auto event and invited the world to celebrate the rebirth of “Historic Route 66”. The first Route 66 Fun Run was held in 1988 and every year in May, Route 66 enthusiasts worldwide continue to gather to celebrate ‘The Mother Road’ revival and the unique communities that make it a linear destination!

Back here at home in Rural BC, as direct descendants of the Mother Road, we are poised to

reach out to linear communities along Route 97 & 99 joining (TCH – Route One) corridors to broaden our

scope along BC’s heritage highways. Route 66 is the cohesive exemplary paradigm to drive the Rural Revival February 22, 2020

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consciousness of travelers onward & upward to BC, reaching the Gold Rush & First Nations Trails to enjoy the drive and savor the experience that exists ‘borderless by nature’.

Art Route Blue flows in harmony with scenic & vintage portions of Canada’s Mother Road (TCH) and its connecting crossroads. An ‘Art Route Parkway’ is the vein of The Mother Road, a natural bloodline bred to promote, protect and energize historic & cultural travel and encompass inclusivity (of all ethnic origins) to embark on the ultimate North American Gateway to ‘Art-in-Motion’. Moving ahead,the Art Route deserves a place (not just a reflection in our rear-view mirror) but in the face of ourwindshield and sited on maps alongside of natural wonders and ‘must-see’ travel experiences. Art “HotSpots” laudable to be highlighted with significance and placed in the spotlight (such as parks & facades)laced along scenic parkways. Create ‘Authentic Art Gateways’ to showcase and celebrate the grandeurof outdoor canvasses bequeathed to travelers amid a creative landscape for generations to follow.

Lessons be learned from those who witnessed the downfall decades of towns & livelihoods in bust & boon economic shifts. The Mother Road shall rise like the tidewaters upon our shores and bring new life in the form of “Art”, creativity, resourcefulness and ingenuity. Let’s Celebrate a Rural Reclamation, as a piece of Canada’s Heritage that’s sitting on the leading edge of ‘art-in-motion’. Follow in the steps of the Guardian of Route 66 (Angel Delgadillo) who spearheaded & shepherded America’s Main Street back from the ashes through to the ages!

In closing, the cover photo features the Route 66 Fun Run cavalcade heading west of Seligman (the Birthplace of Historic Route 66), and reminiscent of one of my favorite heritage sites, Spences Bridge, once a traveler’s hub along the Trans Canada Highway, now a prime “Art Parkway” awaiting for the tide- to-turn toward a creative economic reboot for Rural BC. Dream ~ Draw and Drive it!

HIGHWAY QUEEN LORRIE FLEMMING

BUILDING CROSSROADS IN 2020

ART RURAL ROUTE BLUE

An All-Inclusive Greenway Enriched in Blue & Gold

Created by Master Muralist & Visionary, Michelle Loughery

Written By:  Lorrie Fleming, Member of ‘The Blue Team’ 

            Going Back to Our Roots … “Where were you in 1962”?  Our revered Trans Canada Highway was officially opened on September 3, 1962, building a Nation to link Victoria, BC to St. John’s Newfoundland.  Spanning Coast-to-Coast and Rural-to-Town, the introduction of a nation-wide transportation corridor woven into the tapestry of a ‘National Dream’ laced the stories together in the true spirit of our Confederation Founding Fathers.  At the time of its completion in 1971, this 7,821-kilometre epic journey was “the longest (uninterrupted) highway on earth”!  

            Michelle, A Pioneering Visionary, has brilliantly sculpted a futuristic, eco-cultural and all-inclusive movement that extends far beyond our ‘Canadian National Dream’.  In her adept wisdom, creative thinking and articulate language in the expression of Art, Michelle, by way of the Rural Route Blue initiative, transforms far outreaching spaces of our national highway into a vast multi-cultured platform of connectivity.

            Keeping in mind the vast lineage shaped by the legendary “Mother Road” with bloodlines that launched in 1926, she held the heart of America for nearly a century and changed the course of a nation by a powerful force in moving humanity.    Today, 2020 is approaching in our near vision and Michelle has set her sights on Rural Route Blue as an extension of the Mother Road, to move with the times in perfect harmony.  Driven by Michelle, Canada’s Mother Road is turning a corner toward a cultural rebirth with her deep-rooted sense of story telling via outdoor galleries encompassing a revolutionary evolving enhanced system of sight, sound & voice over technology. 

            Walls Will Talk… History has a brand-new lens to the future by way of a dimensional eco-force that extends into the transportation tapestry of humankind along a timeless and connective corridor that’s alive within our “cross-by-car” lifestyle.  Retrace an epic journey to rediscover and traverse our footpaths through the windshield to explore vehicular experiences that carved two nations in a cross-boundary trajectory of friendship.  

Through the vivid eyes of a gifted Artist, Michelle injects color into this new dimension using a dynamic mix of blue ‘n green with a dusting of Gold freshly picked from nature’s toolbox.  She has created a ubiquitous guideway for generations to learn & grow.  A new E-Highway paved with the aggregate of people, place & purpose awaits along ‘Rural Route Blue’ with arteries that connect a multi-directional, cultural and “art-in-motion & destination-mural-town” journey. 

See you soon “down the road” in 2020.  Meantime may the spirit of our ‘Mother Roads’ carry you to amazing places full of awe inspiring and multi-colored faces.  Now you can hear their voices!  

 Writer’s Footnote:

In my viewpoint, the patriarch link that connects Canada & USA is Great Britain’s Hudson’s Bay Company.  It cannot be understated the value of the footpaths that these brigades forged, alongside Aboriginal Americans who guided the expeditions to discover and delve deeper into the heart & soul of this vast new land called North America.  “Trapping Furs & Turning Gold” …Our history speaks through a land of braided trails with a renewed “Rush to Riches”!  Lorrie

AR:T ROUTE CANADA

Art and beauty comes in many forms, including the natural and the handmade , and there’s no reason why, when admiring one, you cannot enjoy the other. And there is no reason that our modern cave masterpieces should not be showcased as invitations for the globe to visit and meander along our highways. The bonus is that travellers can fill the art stops in with small business and community events along the way. Connecting our communities makes sense. Like a giant story book. And it makes more sense if a highway art project like ART ROUTE BLUE is launched with artists and grassroots communities. To keep the jobs, make connections and bring the creative economy to the rural communities and keep our young people talking to the elders. This is a people up road trip. The Canadian Version of ROUTE 66. This art trip is long standing in its vision. Held dear by many and led by Queen of the Road Lorrie Flemming. I am just the conductor and the painter who got to paint way before murals became the explosion of trend that are now. Or maybe these modern cave drawings have always been a huge part of the education and history making of the stories of the people and of nature as we all ride the highway of life. Our Destination Mural Town Art Route is a global grid. It has many more layers to unravel and we are excited as many are using the model to bring Destination ART Routes to their regions. There is blue on those walls though! And the blue beings to the hands of the artists, the visionaries and the first people that have shared fire stories since time began. AR:T ROUTE BLUE details great work across the globe. Some of these artworks are showcased in outdoor settings, others however, are set amidst the most beautiful scenery. Take a look and see community social economics through a new lens. With a content building economy made strong by keeping the people in that system. Our stories are our art and our towns the fires that warm the rural earth. We have made ground at AR:T Route Blue. Destination Mural Town has many tourism organizations and communities abuzz. Destination Routes have been growing in rail and nature trails. Art walks have been around forever and people love to stroll through the streets seeking local treasures. But this AR:T Route is unique as the team of Blue are also trainers, educators, creators, builders, healers, connectors, first responders, homeless, nature protectors, storytellers, painters, sculptors, carvers, singers, youth, elders and all first people from the globe. This is community building from a place of renewal to reimagining. A new form of muraltourism. A content creating system that keeps the content with the creators and the power of all horses in front of one cart. The blue is the stories of many, in a place of global connection, to a system that keeps people and nature connected. Now that is reachable tourism and community economics.

BLUE UPDATE

AR:T ROUTE BLUE has legs and roots..

I have a vision. One that has consumed me for so long. The connection of people and communities under one thread. A piece of thread that we can all hold on to. The highways unite us all. Animals, and people have traversed those highways or paths form centuries. The very land making the wayfinder lines and the valleys and water the places that hold our dreams and our steps. I am always humbled by the stories of the immigrants that I am so proud to be a person molded by. Those stories are like threads. Strong and visions of places and times that my eyes have never seen. But they are as real and defining as my own experiences. This is the bridge of time that each one of us hold. The connection of the generations and why elders are so important. I am a grandmother. I love the art of being a grandmother. My grandchildren are portals to my own children, yet also a mirror of myself and a look back at those I never met. The DNA in all of us is a tapestry. It is the life line to the future. AR:T Route blue has been a long journey. It is hard to explain what it is. Many may think it is an art route. Many think it is a blog. Many think it is something that a crazy artist is pushing that makes no sense. But it is a vision. It is building something that will connect us to each other and to the creative skills that exist in everyone of us. And it is the space. The space that lives between each one of us. I met a wonderful new artist from Ashcroft this week. Marina and I were speaking about the blue and Marina sees artist copyright is like water.

Art is for everyone. You can own water rights..but you never own the water…only the creator can. And in that conversation and connection I realized that the blue is vital to us connecting through creative thought and the thread that brings us all together…..the blue is a thread that is making its way and I am again humbled by the journey. Grateful in Blue- Michelle The Blue Wayfinder

#garbagegobbler

Lorrie
Rural Rider

Highway Art:
Here’s the New Garbage Gobblers @ The Coldstream Lookout – Note:  The original version (pic below) housed in Revelstoke!

#ARTROUTE VERNON

Hello from Trails End…

Leaving our last campsite here in the Coldstream Valley perched high on the hillside that overlooks the radiantly beautiful Kalamalka Lake!
The views up here are stunning and this magnificent area is truly difficult to leave behind in our rear view.

Going ‘back to reality’ heading homeward, we’re stopped for a rest at Juniper Beach’ along the banks of the Thompson River, west of Kamloops Lake.  How blessed we are to witness the landscape unfold in a kaleidoscope of colors.  From red apples 🍎 to pumpkins 🎃 of brilliant orange, nature’s bounty speaks volumes as Autumn settles into brilliant hues.

So long for now my special comrades, we shall meet again soon ‘down destiny’s road’!

Love Lorrie
Rural ROUTES Rider