blogging kp!

some of my travels with random musings & silliness mixed in

The Hoop Dance May 29, 2011

This year for Memorial Weekend, I rode my Harley around Arizona. Part of my trip included riding up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. While walking around the Rim taking pictures, I heard the very distinct sound of what I will refer to here as powwow drums.

I walked over to where the sound was coming from (the side of the Hopi House) and found a show (ugh… I hate that word in this instance) of four or five Native American dancers performing various cultural dances… so, I slowly inched my way forward and soon was able to take some pictures. This series of photos is of the Hoop Dance.

The Hoop Dance is a form of dance that a solo dancer performs to tell a story with anywhere from 1 to 30 hoops at a time…. each formation of hoops can represent an animal (ie… snake, eagle, coyote) that is integral to the storytelling. Also, each hoop represents the circle of life. The various formations of the hoop occur all around the dancer’s body. To create the various formations, the hoops are arranged to interconnect. While interconnected, the hoops are extended from the dancer’s body to create the “wings”, “tails”, etc of the animal they are creating…. all this is done while the dance is moving very rapidly.

More of my pictures:


On the road to the Grand Canyon! September 4, 2009

We packed up our lunch leftovers and headed off on the 89. The 89 winds it’s way through

Along the 89

Kanab. The movie The Outlaw Josey Wells was filmed here… part of the set still exists in town. In Kanab we get on the 11 toward Fredonia, Arizona. In Fredonia,  we pick up ALT 89 to Jacob Lake. The drive to Jacob Lake is about 55 miles on a two lane road through the middle of nowhere that also happens to be beautiful!

pulled off for photos

Along the way we stop to take pictures as well as a mini hike. We are, however, in a hurry. The clouds are getting grayer and darker. We can see the rain in the distance. I have my raingear with me but do not relish riding in the rain. I hope we can get to our cabin before we get wet!

Jacob Lake is the gateway to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. At Jacob Lake there is an Inn that has been around since 1923… founded by the Bowman family. The inn has a gas station, a small grocery store, restaurant, bakery and gift shop.  We stopped for a little while… gassed up, grabbed some pastries and beer for the cabin. The gift shop is full of great items. The Native American collection of jewelry, weavings, pottery and artwork is pretty amazing. The proprietors are very knowlegeable about their wares and have established relationships with many of the artists… some of the artists are internationally known. The Kaibab Plateau Visitor center is also located in Jacob Lake.

please don't rain, please don't rain...


The elevation gain to Jacob Lake (elev 7900 ft) is enough that Sue and I have to stop and put on more warm layers… it’s getting colder… and darker!! The drive from Jacob Lake to the North Rim is roughly 45 miles on SR67. I made sure to put my rain gear on the top of my saddlebag in case I need to pull over and put it on. I am glad I did!! We ended up driving through a few showers and a deluge or two.

We left Jacob Lake and started toward the Grand Canyon. The road is two lanes and travels through the Kaibab National Forest. Ponderosa pines and Aspen trees line the road for quite sometime and then open up to a large alpine meadow. Along the way, we notice many large lifted pick up trucks parked on the side of the road. Upon further inspection, I notice people in camouflage walking around. Apparently, it is hunting season. While we were stopped taking in the view, some hunters were parked across the road from us. We chatted across the road with them. I think they liked seeing four women travelling by themselves.

We finally arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park entrance kiosk. After a short wait, we pay and collect the “newspaper” (The Guide) the ranger hands us. The sun is really starting to go down now and it’s getting colder. The road winds it way into the park. We travel through Aspen tree lined ravines and descend gradually through the park, finally ending at the Grand Canyon Lodge.


On the road to Zion National Park

Woke up to a very bright and sunny day. We tried to get out of the house as soon as possible. The sun crossing the desert to St. George, UT was going to be VERY hot if we took our time.  

Next stop… Zion National Park!  

Highway 15 North out of Las Vegas, thru Mesquite and the Virgin River Gorge. We passed Mesquite and I thought of the last trip thru there when a nut holding my shifter / shift linkage in place worked itself loose. I went to shift and nothing! Luckily we girls had some tools and figured it all out.  

About two miles out of Mesquite is Arizona… no sooner did we cross the border than we stopped and tore our helmets off! Four days with no helmet! Yippee!! Onto the Virgin River Gorge…I must admit I love riding through the Gorge… the road has some shade due to the high walls and the road is curvy… lots of fun to open up the bike and go for it! Sue and the girls kept right up. It was fun to watch the girls in the car… talking and laughing and apparently enjoying a good song because I could see their heads moving to the music!  

Once in St. George we split off the 15 and onto the 17 through Hurricane to La Verkin. From there we split off onto the 9 toward Zion National Park.  

Fort Zion Trading Post, Virgin UT

Fort Zion Trading Post, Virgin UT

Roughly 20 miles outside of the park is the Fort Zion Trading Post. We made our first “tourist stop” there. Ft. Zion is a large store that has been built to resemble a large old frontier fort. The “trading post” is filled with everything you can imagine… fabulous Indian jewelry, posters, metal signs, rugs, hats, tshirts… you name it it is probably in there… including a cooler with cold drinks and some very good ice cream. What makes Ft. Zion unique is that the owners have built a “town” for a small fee you can walk around and feed some of the animals they have rescued. The small fee is for the feeding and care of the animals.  This is not your average town… this town looks like something Tim Burton would build for one of his movies… if it were a western.  

We did not stay very long as we had to make it through Zion and over to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon before sundown. Riding on the back roads of Utah in the night time is not a smart idea… there are lots of animals out there!!  

Twenty miles later, we arrived in Springdale, the western entrance to Zion National Park.  Zion has a campground and a lodge inside the park, but Springdale is where the majority of lodging can be found. This is also where I stock up on supplies if I am here to camp. Springdale is also home to the Giant Screen Theatre… movies are projected onto a six story tall screen! During the day the theatre plays movies about Zion and at night they play Hollywood movies. I want to see a Lord of the Rings marathon on this screen! 

As it was a holiday weekend, the line to the park kiosk was a bit slow going. Sue and I paid for ourselves ($12/bike) and the girls purchased a National Park Pass ($80/year). The pass allows up to four passengers in a car or two motorcycles to enter a National Park or National Monument without paying the entrance fee for a year.  

Zion NP

Waiting to go thru the tunnel

Off we went. Zion is one of my favorite parks to ride through… ok… they all are… but I have a warm spot for Zion. The park road runs through a large canyon with walls as high as 2200 feet!  The canyon walls are the most beautiful red colored Navajo Sandstone and as the sun rises throughout the day the walls seem to magically change color. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to hop on the park shuttle and make our way up to Court of the Patriarchs or the Temple of Sinawava. (Access to the Court and the Temple is by shuttle only April-October.) We turned right and crossed over the river. The road meanders up the canyon via a system of switchbacks… it seems each switchback brings new and breathtaking views.  

Part of the way up the canyon is the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel…built in the 1920s when autos were small. Luckily our bikes and car were small enough to not have to obtain a permit to go through the tunnel. The tunnel is a mile long and has a few windows cut out throughout the tunnel. The tunnel only runs one way at a time, so, while we were waiting for our side’s time to move through tunnel, we were taking photos and enjoying the view of the arch. The air in the tunnel reminds me of the tunnel in Yosemite… heavy, dank and moist.  I really wish I could stop at one of the windows and look out! 

Zion NP

Arch near the tunnel

Leaving the tunnel, we travel thru the park and another tunnel on our way to Mt. Carmel. The scenery continues to change with every twist and curve. We leave the red rocks and begin climbing to the plateau and Checkerboard Mesa. As we travel the road the sandstone changes colors… from deep red in the canyon to pale pink to the white of Checkerboard Mesa. The color changes are due to the different minerals in the sandstone… calcium carbonate = white… iron oxides (rust) = red. We stop many times for photos…. the girls in the car end up leaving us behind while we keep taking pictures. 

As we stop at the different turnouts, we keep running into a Korean woman travelling by herself. She keeps trying to take pictures of herself with her point and shoot camera. Since I love taking photos and she is obviously struggling, I offer to take her photo. This happens again at the next stop and the next stop. At each stop we all start giggling because I would just walk over to take her picture. I always seem to meet the nicest people when I travel. I consider myself blessed in that regard. 

Zion NP

on our way to Checkerboard Mesa

We finally finish our sight seeing and roar out of the park… well… I still have stock exhaust so I wouldn’t call it “roaring”. 

One of the great things about travelling with these girls is that we understand how we travel. The girls in the car just headed out of the park to Mt. Carmel while Sue and I continued to stop and take pictures. When Sue & I catch up with them they are in the parking lot across from the Thunderbird Lodge… this lot services a small grocery store, trading post and ice cream shop as well as being a gas stop. 

There are tour buses in the parking lot. When we come out of the grocery with our lunches, we notice some of the tourists checking out our bikes. A couple of guys came over, they are surprised it is women who are riding. It is fairly common for this assumption to be made… especially when they see that I am not on a sportster. 

We had a pretty decent lunch… laced with and despite the tour bus exhaust… checked out our route to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon… and off we went. 

Roughly 200 miles down… another 100 to go. That is about two hours and Mother Nature is threatening rain!! And we have an 8:30pm dinner reservation at the Grand Canyon Lodge… time to hustle! 

A little weather note: It gets HOT in Zion… sometimes to 100 degrees… make sure you have water and sunscreen. 

Some Links: 

Zion National Park: