RUBBER TO ROAD. . .DREAMS TO DRIVES

RIDING THE RURAL ON BC’S ART ROUTE BLUE

Sculpting the Stories into Timeless Art Touring Trails

Narrative Penned by Lorrie Fleming for Release in April 2021

            Dreams carry us away as a momentary escape from reality!  Imagining life after COVID confinement is akin to awaking from a prolonged & deep dream, much like landing on a distant shore!  The mind is racing, my heart is pacing, and my emotions are swimming from sea to sand in contemplation of “hitting the road”.  However, thoughts of an inner vision that’s shifting into gear after a ‘year-long sleep’ is somewhat haunting me, a feeling of similarity to Rip Van Winkle awakening in the strange tale’s ending of author Washington Irving’s famous Fairy Tale.     

            A Cantilever Bridge named in honor of Rip Van Winkle (memorialized in the story) spans the Hudson River in New York; and that’s just how art, literature and story telling creates a culture of economic sustainability.  Gravity pulls ‘Circular Art’ into a reciprocal perspective and manifests value into the vestiges of our cultural legacies.  A true measurement of cultural value is profoundly apparent within each distinct ‘persona’ (described as the aspect of someone’s character & traits perceived by others) as seen in literature and portrayed in the Art of lifetime expressions carved into face-lines.  

            Folklore sums up the experience, defining every line, wrinkle, and spot on one’s face with Its own special meaning.  Telltale signs reveal grief, anxiety, hardships, emotion, and life experiences between the lines.  Overlapped amid these bloodlines, builds character that rests silently along a ribbon of roads, that is deeply rooted into the soul of a person’s story.  Folklore defined as traditional beliefs, customs and stories passed through generations by word of mouth; implanted into a popular myth, culture and belief relating to a particular place, period, and of the people that disseminated within a region.  

            Folklore has no author (like a fairy-tale), it simply emerges out of cultures of everyday people into the tales that people tell, urban legends, myths that are carried forward by constant retelling.  Fairy Tales do come true-to-life in the form of Art, much like a favorite song that travels with you time-after-time along our journey.  The line between mythology and folklore is subjective.  Myth is held in sacred or spiritual reverence, whereas a folktale is popular, but not sacred.     

            Art is the glue to bond society and a counterweight of balance for the social & economic divide between rural, urban & suburban communities.  Being locked into neutral by COVID, forces us to recalibrate and set new goals for a stronger and more permanent path carved into an artform.  Art is the “currency” in the eye of the traveling public that harvests the stories protected by the History Keepers and ingrained deeply into the DNA of the Artwork; and portrayed as a Highway Delivery Billboard.   

            There exists a parallel spirit, a world, a special place inhabited by the unseen eye.  Mothers of the Road and History Keepers collectively add permanence to our society (just like a blueprint & trademark stamped by a sacred signature).  Let the Power of Art carry us to the Godparents of all murals and speak in a soft tone of a colloquial language for all humankind to understand and learn.  Entrust in the people of the wall as their images appear to the viewer (the traveller) that moves within the blue spaces along the horizon and transported by a Mystical Blue Horse held by the reins of a ‘Lifeline of Art’.    

            Fasten the seat belts and tune up the volume dial on “Art Route Radio”, Michelle has surprise guests to accompany you for the ride along your journey.  As we get ready to roll on a mystery tour, the storyline magic will unfold as Michelle holds the color wheel to highlight the people, places, and the stories of those who contributed to our life of freedom.  Filled by a fusion of tears of joy, sadness and despair, Michelle’s Art Route Radio tour expounds the trials & tribulations which paved our roads in the aggregate patchwork that built our nation strong & free.  Listen to the message between the breathes, time-after-time, they shall be our Highway of Hearts, a teaching platform to carry us home.  Let the road take you to the path unknown, unlock the experience of ‘Destination Mural Towns’ and share the campfire stories at journey’s pause.  The joy of travel comes from the unexpected, full of things that once were…

Talk with your eyes, listen with your heart, for eyes are the window to the soul!

Epilogue:

LIVE HISTORY AMID FOLKLORE ETCHED INTO THE POWER OF ART

TRANSFORMING OUR HERITAGE HIGHWAYS INTO ART ROUTES

RIVERS-TO-ROADS -TO SCAFFOLDS

Interweaving Threads of Color into the Strands of our Transportation Corridor

Narrative by Lorrie Fleming Penned on December 12, 2020

Inspired by a conversation with Master Muralist, Michelle Loughery

            A new generation of trail blazers are geared up and ready to hit the road, headed for an optimistic journey as the Coronavirus fades into our rear view.  Meanwhile, a new horizon for humankind is being cast on a transportation canvass envisioned by Humanitarian & The Master of Arts, Michelle!  The next step for the Art Route Blue framework is to create a Heritage Highway Recognition Plan and to form an Advisory Committee to work collaboratively in a consortium of partners to cultivate a means to restore the spirits of people, place & planet.  

            Our first pathways of mobility emerged via rivers & waterways connecting early travelers into a landscape of vast terrain that our ancestral pioneers forged initiating a network of trails to open passageways for human navigation.  As the advancement of human travel evolved, our trails developed into rail systems, interspersed with roadways that became highways of a transverse transportation system. 

            Culture & Art changes the face of our civilization; and our roadways & crossroads are the conduit for ancestral history keepers to showcase the founders & pioneers who built our roads and opened new gates to serve the settlements of homesteaders to outreach an immense landscape.  A new horizon is being sculpted to honor the enormous strides of stalwart champions of society and to acknowledge their efforts by transforming the future through visual arts & brush strokes depicting our multifaceted heritage.     

            In our multicultural and distinct society, we are people of many colors, graced by a multitude of vibrant tones and shades of diversity.  As a non-artist, my personal connection to Michelle runs deep, flowing like a river that culminated at the Heart of the Mother Road.  As I traveled on the road, Michelle was high overhead on a scaffold creating the first official Route 66 Mural City in Cuba, Missouri, in 2002.  Painted images that touch the hearts of the townsfolk [The Gold Star Boys aboard the Blue Bonnet Train] depicts the town’s homegrown heroes as they left their home to serve in WWI.     

            Today, in an era of the excessively rushed pace of people {in a hurry to multitask & reach unduly goals}, the time is right to reconnect and reset the inner soul of humanity.  To focus our sights on a sense of shared societal culture in harmony with a lifeline of art spliced into the initiative of Michelle’s Art Route Blue corridor, pumping new life into an upcoming generation of travelers.   Out-of-the Blue appears a beacon of light in pursuit of a beloved Blue Horse (a mythical symbol of hope) and a stabilizer for to all humanity to reach a base of solid ground in this time of global uncertainty.  May we sharply turn towards a Highway of Hope and meet each other on Main Street for a cup of tasty tea!

“If your heart is broken, make Art with the pieces” 

Quote by Shane Koyczan – Canadian Poet & Writer

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

2

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!

AR:T RURAL ROUTE BLUE

BUILDING CROSSROADS IN 2020

AR:T RURAL

An All-Inclusive Greenway Enriched in Blue & Gold

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 Blue ROAD REPORT

…Here we are at the start point of the legendary Cariboo Wagon Road that carved a permanent place on Canada’s Western Frontier.  A major transportation hub from fur trails-to-steel rails echoing tales of BC’s historic significance to carry our nation through the ages.  Our history speaks in many languages…Listen quietly, you will be amazed at what you may hear between the timelines of travel!
Lorrie,
Tracing our Trails

Michelle:
Your articulate words speak succinctly to the integrity of your leadership.  An educator, motivator, coach and servant leader (the list is endless)!
Our Society is blessed by your contribution to inspire humankind.  
My heart is touched by you!
Lorrie
Road Mother

The faces of the people

No matter what road life takes you, it truly is the people along the way that are the paint strokes in the canvas of your life. As an artist that traveled the world I have met many many faces. This picture is of a wonderful young man that worked so hard for the Merritt crew. His story was his to tell and he honoured us with parts of it. He shared his dreams and we shared wisdoms to support those dreams. But this young man taught me resilience and silent strength. He was turned away from the care that is his right to receive when he hurt himself during a young rowdy weekend. He bandaged his hand and he came to work on the murals. Not a word was said by him.

When we realized he did not get a response to his visit to the clinic, a colourful paint spattered group went marching into that clinic demanding not to quietly his right to care. You see this young man wanted to be a carpenter and his hand is is tool, his talent and his livelihood. Yes we were muralists, but more we were family.

Route blue shout out by former CEO of #Vancouver #Tourism

Rick Antonson:   Former President and CEO of Tourism Vancouver, world traveler and author of five books (including Route 66 Still Kicks – Driving America’s Main Street), kindly contributes this statement to honor Route Blue ~ Blue Renew…  “The time-honoured phrase “One for the road” gets nicely paraphrased when Route 66 enters the discussion as it becomes “All for the road” since everyone has a common sense that the road mattered, matters and will always matter — as it continues to lead us to interesting mindsets and places, and to inspire fascinating art such as route-blue-buoy”.  Rick

http://rickantonson.com/