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:


Arizona Route 40/66 – Holbrook, AZ January 3, 2011

Pow Wow Trading Post

Once I left Exit 303, I continued on to Holbrook, Arizona. Holbrook is a great little town full of all the old vintage signs I love and the history of Route 66.

What’s crazy is that five days ago on my way to Santa Fe, NM, I drove through Holbrook and I was in the middle of a BLIZZARD. Driving through it today, there is hardly any snow on the ground. Pretty amazing how quickly the weather can change… like “on a dime”!

I have always wanted to go back to Holbrook. I have been through once or twice and have always been in a hurry. I really want to photograph the vintage signs at night… get them in all of their glory. However, I never seem to make it through at night.

I pulled off the 40 onto Navajo Boulevard into Holbrook. Straight down Navajo is the Pow Wow Trading Post. I have always loved that place, but alas, it appears to be closed. There is a large chain link fence all around it. I really hope that somehow new life is breathed into it. I got my camera out anyway and took what photos I could… the chain link fence and electrical wires made it difficult to get some shots but I was out of the car and enjoying myself.

The Plainsman

My next stop is a little further down from the Pow Wow on the opposite side of the road. It is a fairly famous bar called Young’s Corral. I have never been inside but the horse’s ass on the sign always makes me laugh. On the side of Young’s there is a mural the length of the building. The mural is an homage to the desert, motorcycle riding and classic cars. Of course I stopped to photograph the mural. I wonder to myself why residents look at me funny… you would think that being a big city on Route 66 a tourist taking photos wouldn’t be an oddity!

I turned right onto West Hopi Drive and found myself in old motel / restaurant sign HEAVEN. My favorite is the Plainsman… a steakhouse whose sign is in the shape of a rifle with a powder horn! I’d get out snap some photos and then drive to the next place… I was lost in my own little world.

Sadly, the one sign I want to photograph…. is somewhere in Holbrook (I know because I have photographed it before.) but I could not remember where. It is of a large neon Indian Chief… not the motorcycle… I suppose I could have asked but I really needed to get back on the road. sigh. Next time I WILL FIND IT!

Next stop on my photo expedition… The Wigwam Motel!

See more of my photos here:

Young's Corral


Arizona Route 40/66 – Exit 303 Adamana

He looks hungry!

I have to say that I LOVE the goofy old roadside attractions / stops that America offers along it’s highways and byways! One such area for satisfying my love of all things kooky…  is of course Route 66. Yes, you can get your kicks there… but on Highway 40 there is another place… Exit 303… Adamana.

Petrified wood… rocks… Native American wares… you name it…. but the best part is all the different ways the owners of these establishments have chosen to get your attention from the highway! Giant dinosaurs… teepees… giant Kachinas…

I was on the way to Las Vegas (the Nevada one) from Santa Fe, New Mexico, this past New Year’s and I had to stop… it was the time of day where the sun is directly overhead but I took some photos anyway!

Watching the cars go by.

See more of my photos:


Red Feather Development Group June 14, 2009

That so many people living in the 21st Century, in the richest country in the world, should be living in abject poverty, is a blot on American society. The Red Feather project is extremely important. It is culturally and environmentally sensitive; it has incredibly low overhead; it is truly making a difference. ~ Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace

Okay… having shared what Ms. Goodall said… I am posting some info about The Red Feather Development Group... a charitable organization I donate to through United Way every year.

Please take the time to read and learn about this organization… Maybe you will be inspired to help give or build an environmentally friendly straw bale home with running water, electricity, and sanitation to a Native American family who does not have that which we take for granted on a daily basis.

Red Feather’s Philosophy
Cultural Sensitivity
Red Feather believes that tribal members know and understand what is best for their communities. Because they are the experts, we involve them in every aspect of our work, and we assist them in carrying out housing objectives that they deem important, rather than impose what we think is best for their community.

Building partnerships with reservation communities is the core of our programs. Our volunteers work side-by-side tribal members in the construction of each home, gaining an invaluable amount of trust and understanding of each other’s cultures. Our dedication to partnerships is far more valuable than any one person’s individual skills.

Red Feather’s top priority is community involvement. As explained in our mission statement, we believe that this is a key component in the goal to achieve substantial and lasting change on American Indian reservations. To this affect, a large portion of our commitment is spent towards empowerment.

Personal Enrichment
Red Feather volunteer opportunities combine service with real world learning. Volunteers routinely leave a project with a new appreciation for the host nation and its people. Many volunteers say that working with and getting to know the reservation community was a life changing experience.


Here is the link:

Generosity: to give, to share, to have a heart (Lakota)
Ho ya na… is to be noble; to be noble is to give. (Oneida)


Inspiration & Glacier Points…and Butterflies May 24, 2009


It’s Sunday morning. I got up at about 6:30am thinking I’d get the jump on the showers… no such luck… there was already a line!! Anyway, I got through the shower, broke camp and repacked my bike. The KOA office opened… I grabbed a coffee and then headed off to Yosemite.

The road to the park was nice and curvy. It also started to run alongside the Merced River. The river was flowing pretty quickly and high. I am going to guess it was from the snow melt. Periodically, some rafters would float by. At one point there is a bridge that is one lane only. On each end of the bridge is a stop light… I happened to catch it while it was red. So, I got off the bike and watched the rafters paddle by until it was my side of the bridge’s turn to cross.

Mariposa aka butterfly

Mariposa aka butterfly

As I drove through El Portal, I started noticing that there were a lot of butterflies. The further up the road the more the butterflies. Wow! It must have been hatching season. What was weird about it was they were hanging out on the pavement. Maybe it was the heat coming off the pavement? Anyway, there were people on the side of the road holding up signs “Slow down butterflies ahead” and “Speed kills”. I couldn’t help but giggle to myself that there were adults on the side of the road with signs trying to save the butterflies. I am not callous and I love wildlife but there were so many butterflies no matter how fast you were driving you were going to run into them. I had to duck down behind my windshield to avoid being hit in the face! My faring looked like a butterfly massacre occurred and my black jeans had yellow butterfly goo all over them. Finally, I got through the butterflies and headed up to the Arch Rock entrance.

I have been to Yosemite many times. So, I decided to avoid the Village because holidays get really packed with tourists and sometimes the village is closed due to too many people. As a general rule, I tend to avoid large crowds whenever possible. I headed straight toward Glacier Point via the Wawona Tunnel.

I stopped at the aptly named Inspiration Point which is just before the Wawona Tunnel. Despite the amount of people there, I was able to sit on the wall and look over Yosemite Valley. The view of Half Dome and El Capitan towering over the Valley and Bridalveil Falls going fast and strong all 620ft down the canyon wall from the heavy snowmelt was just breathtaking. I have stopped here many times and I am never anything less than amazed. There has to be an Ansel Adams photo or ten of this so beautiful it’s sublime vista!

Inside the tunnel.

Inside the tunnel.

Just beyond the parking lot of Inspiration Point is the Wawona Tunnel. The tunnel is super cool. There is a very small sidewalk on the right side. I discovered the sidewalk on my last visit, so, camera in hand I walked down into the depths of the tunnel and started taking pictures. One thing I like about the tunnel is the smell. It’s heavy and dank. You can feel the moisture in the air and you can see the water slowly dripping down the rock walls. I stayed in the tunnel for about ten minutes taking pictures.

From Inspiration Point to Glacier Point is roughly 30 miles…plan on almost an hour to get there. The road is narrow, curvy and on holiday weekends filled with slow driving tourists. The turn off to Glacier is at Chinquapin 15 miles of driving through trees and yep… Some snow!

The drive to Glacier from Chinquapin is high country driving at it’s best! I stopped at Washburn Point…named after the brothers who originally owned the Wawona Hotel. The view is SPECTACULAR! Half Dome and the Sierras! There is also a great view of Vernal and Nevada Falls. I had never drove to or visited Glacier Point. I was beginning to get excited about what was to come. I walked around for awhile and just took in the view, the cold crisp air and took some pictures.

I also marvelled at people’s complete lack of respect for signage. There was a sign that said “stay off we’re trying to grow grass here” or something like that and nobody paid attention. The treehugger in me was very annoyed by lack of respect.

Washburn Point

Washburn Point

The last half mile or so to Glacier Point’s parking lot was brutal. Downhill switchbacks, tourists trying to park anywhere along the side of the road and a very tired brake hand. I have to admit I did not follow my advice below. I watched down the switchbacks and when a car wasn’t leaving the lot and coming up the hill…. I passed a long line of cars. I was lucky I did not get caught. I rationalized that my hurting brake hand, stopped traffic and being pointed downhill was worth the risk but the reality is that it would not have been worth $400 if I had gotten caught.

I parked the bike, grabbed the camera and walked over to Glacier Point. I just really have no words… cliches… Amazing, beautiful, breathtaking, etc etc etc… But they just wouldn’t do it justice.

Glacier Point has a small snack stand and gift shop. I grabbed a turkey pesto pita sandwich and an iced coffee. I went back out and sat on the wall. I put my iPod on and listened to Robbie Robertson’s Music for the Native Americans. This cd is a great compilation of Robbie’s original music as well as some great Native American singers. I pretended no one was around, ate my lunch and enjoyed looking at Mother Nature’s handywork.

Slow Down, Save a Bear

Slow Down, Save a Bear

Unfortunately, it was getting late and I still had to drive the hour back to the Tioga Pass turnoff, through Tuolomne Meadows and then over the pass to Lee Vining.

NOTE: When you are in the park you are on federal property. If you get a ticket…it is expensive and you have to take care of it in the park or by mail. Resist the urge. Don’t speed or pass! Not only will you save money…you might save a bear!


Some Links:



George Carlin on Indians June 3, 2008

Filed under: Native American,Waxing Philosophic — photographingkp @ 5:18 pm
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“Now the Indians. I call them Indians because that’s what they are. They’re Indians. There’s nothing wrong with the word Indian. First of all, it’s important to know that the word Indian does not derive from Columbus mistakenly believing he had reached ‘India.’ India was not even called by that name in 1492; it was known as Hindustan.

More likely, the word Indian comes from Columbus’s description of the people he found here. He was an Italian, and did not speak or write very good Spanish, so in his written accounts he called the Indians, “Una gente in Dios.” A people in God. In God. In Dios. Indians. It’s a perfectly noble and respectable word.

As far as calling them ‘Americans’ is concerned, do I even have to point out what an insult this is? —– We steal their hemisphere, kill twenty or so million of them, destroy five hundred separate cultures, herd the survivors onto the worst land we can find, and now we want to name them after ourselves? It’s appalling. Haven’t we done enough damage? Do we have to further degrade them by tagging them with the repulsive name of their conquerors?

You know, you’d think it would be a fairly simple thing to come over to this continent, commit genocide, eliminate the forests, dam up the rivers, build our malls and massage parlors, sell our blenders and whoopee cushions, poison ourselves with chemicals, and let it go at that. But no. We have to compound the insult.”

And as far as these classroom liberals who insist on saying “Native American” are concerned, here’s something they should be told: It’s not up to you to name the people and tell them what they ought to be called. If you’d leave the classroom once in a while, you’d find that most Indians are insulted by the term Native American. The American Indian Movement will tell you that if you ask them.

The phrase “Native American” was invented by the U.S. government Department of the Interior in 1970. It is an inventory term used to keep track of people. It includes Hawaiians, Eskimos, Samoans, Micronesians, Polynesians, and Aleuts. Anyone who uses the phrase Native American is assisting the U.S. government in its effort to obliterate people’s true identities.

Do you want to know what the Indians would like to be called? Their real names: Adirondack, Delaware, Massachuset, Narranganset, Potomac, Illinois, Miami, Alabama, Ottawa, Waco, Wichita, Mohave, Shasta, Yuma, Erie, Huron, Susquehanna, Natchez, Mobile, Yakima, Wallawalla, Muskogee, Spokan, Iowa, Missouri, Omaha, Kansa, Biloxi, Dakota, Hatteras, Klamath, Caddo, Tillamook, Washoe, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, Laguna, Santa Ana, Winnebago, Pecos, Cheyenne, Menominee, Yankton, Apalachee, Chinook, Catawba, Santa Clara, Taos, Arapaho, Blackfoot, Blackfeet, Chippewa, Cree, Mohawk, Tuscarora, Cherokee, Seminole, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Comanche, Shoshone, Two Kettle, Sans Arc, Chiricahua, Kiowa, Mescalero, Navajo, Nez Perce, Potawatomi, Shawnee, Pawnee, Chickahominy, Flathead, Santee, Assiniboin, Oglala, Miniconjou, Osage, Crow, Brule, Hunkpapa, Pima, Zuni, Hopi, Paiute, Creek, Kickapoo, Ojibwa, Shinnicock.

I’m glad the Indians have gambling casinos now. It makes me happy that dimwitted white people are losing their rent money to the Indians. Maybe the Indians will get lucky and win their country back. Probably wouldn’t want it. Look at what we did to it.”


What is in a name?

Filed under: Native American,Waxing Philosophic — photographingkp @ 4:23 pm
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What’s In a Name?  Indian?  Native American?  American Indian?

“In the end, the term you choose to use (as an Indian or non Indian) is your own personal choice. Very few Indians that I know care either way. The recommended method is to refer to a person by their tribe, if that information is known.

The reason is that the Native peoples of North America are incredibly diverse. It would be like referring to both a Romanian and an Irishman as European. . . .

Whenever possible, most would prefer to be called a Cherokee or a Lakota or whichever tribe they belong to. This shows respect because not only are you sensitive to the fact that the terms Indian, American Indian, and Native American are an over simplification of a diverse ethnicity, but you also show that you listened when they told you what tribe they belonged to.

When you don’t know the specific tribe simply use the term which you are most comfortable using. The worst that can happen is that someone might correct you and open the door for a thoughtful debate on the subject of political correctness and its impact on ethnic identity. What matters in the long run is not which term is used but the intention with which it is used.”

by Christina Berry,  All Things Cherokee