Tuesday, March 03, 2015

On The Road Again

We started another 700 mile (1126 km) journey south on Sunday to see my mom. She hasn't been feeling well, and we really wanted to be with her to see how we could help. We always stop halfway at Roger's family beach house to spend the night. It's a grand trip, and Sunday's drive was probably the best we have ever taken. That's because there was NO TRAFFIC (except for the drive through the city of San Francisco, which involved hitting every traffic light red). But there was NO TRAFFIC getting into or out of the bay area, which is such an amazing thing that it needs to be repeated just for the awesome statement that it is!

One of the best upsides of having to stop at every traffic light in the city, is that we got to see something that is somewhat of a rare occurrence in the city. It was a stunningly clear day, and at one of the lights we looked west down the road and could see the Pacific Ocean. And, all the way out on the horizon, 30 miles away we could see the Farallon Islands. The first time I have ever seen them. It made stopping at the lights a truly wonderful event.

We also noticed while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge a huge cloud that looked a lot like an Incus formation south east of the city, reaching high above the city skyline. It's too difficult to photograph anything while driving over the bridge, and by the time we crossed it, the skyline was no longer in view, but the cloud still was. We saw this cloud for the 70 miles we drove south to Santa Cruz.

We saw it over the San Francisco airport.

We saw it over the radio-telescope at Stanford University. The telescope has a 150 foot diameter.

But we were utterly surprised to see it when we arrived at the beach house, which faces southeast.  It stretched out across the horizon.

We saw this formation all the way into the sunset. And then just before dark it flashed lightning from deep inside. It was quite a sight.

I told Roger, "This cloud followed us here. Can we keep it?" I'm not sure if it really was an Incus, but it was beautiful.

My mom has asked to postpone the trip a few days until she feels stronger to have us come and stay. So, we wait here on the bay for her call.


  1. Whoa, such a cloud formation! And how utterly gorgeous it was in that sunset light.
    May things go all right with your mom...

  2. You and roger and your mother are in my thoughts. Sending love.

    Amazing that you had a powerful cloud companion accompanying you from the Golden Gate Bridge to Santa Cruz. Intriguing that the first sighting was to the south east, while the others were to the west, and that it flashed lightning at sunset. A beautiful series of photographs.

    It just occurred to me that the distance from Arcata to where your mother lives is about the same distance that it is from Bellingham to Arcata, with Salem, Oregon, being around the half-way point on that journey.

    Traveling between worlds. So many changes in the landscape from north to south.

  3. isabelita-- It really was quite a cloud. We really enjoyed seeing it mile after mile. Thank you for your kind words.

    am-- I probably should have been more clear about the direction of the cloud from the beach house. Even though the house is on the Monterey Bay, it faces east. I just watched the sun rise over the bay! Those clouds on Sunday were southeast, the same direction when we saw them behind the San Francisco skyline. I made a little video of the lightning flashing, but it was really too crappy to post. It was quite a cloud formation. Seven hundred miles changes everything! Thank you for your kind words.

  4. So much love to you two and your beloved Mom. I hope she's on the upswing soon. Thanks for always sharing your trips with us. XOXO

  5. Looks like there are far worse places to have to tarry than the bay where you are awaiting your Mom's convalescence. Spotting the Farallon Islands is so cool!

  6. I hope your mom is feeling better soon.

    I loved hearing about the cloud that followed you. When traveling, I like driving into a weather system, seeing it from various perspectives. Last weekend, I was so thrilled to cross over the Mule Mountains and find several stacked lenticular clouds occupying the huge expanse of sky between the Mule, Huachuca, Whetstone and Mustang ranges. A giant sky circus.

  7. I love seeing the world through your eyes! I hope your Mom feels well again soon. xoKate

  8. How is that possible?! How crazy was that cloud?!

    Sending all good wishes to you mom.

  9. Goodness, I wouldn't have guessed that amazing cloud was harboring a storm. It looked so benign.
    Glad you have a lovely place to stop while your Mom gets ready for the visit. Maybe you should always travel on Sunday.

  10. Yankee Transferred- Thank you for your kind words. I'll have my mom read this post when we get there. She'll love the comments.

    Scott-- We are so lucky to have this house to stay in. Roger's grandparents bought it in 1938, now their great-great grandchildren come to visit. Yes, the Farallons was quite a sight!

    Bev-- Being out on the road gives a great opportunity for long views and watching what the sky does. It's an added dimension of travel that I also come to love.

    Kate-- I love sharing our world. What a beautiful place.

    Tara-- I kept photographing that cloud for 70 miles. I really wanted to get a shot of it above the skyline. It was spectacular. Sigh.

    Arkansas Patti-- I wish the video I took of the lightning had turned out better, I would post it here. The lightning was very cool. Some Sundays are better than others. The bay area (and LA) have some of the worst traffic in the country.

  11. I didn't know a cloud could be so large! One of these trips we'll have to meet up in Santa Cruz as you stop over. Best wishes for a safe journey and howdy to your Mom!

  12. hello, cloud magnet! hope the remainder of the trip is just as delightful. we love that coastal trip from santa cruz to LA. thinking of your mom and sending many good wishes that she'll feel strong and energetic quickly. love the pics.

  13. lindaj-- Part of me thinks it's completely crazy that we saw a cloud for so many miles, but I photographed it for 1 1/2 hours, and I do think it was one big cloud that may have been drifting south, as we were. Amazing. Yes, we have talked about trying to get to see you, but we're never here long enough to rendezvous with friends. We're hoping to spend more time soon, and we'll let you know.

    Sky-- It was quite a magnificent cloud for all those miles. I was pretty jazzed by it. Thank you for your kind good wishes.

  14. Hope your mom is feeling better soon. I have noticed that clouds are more interesting or make that different in California especially when we cross from Arizona to Bakersfield. I looked today to see if we in the Willamette Valley had any interesting clouds when we drove to town-- not so much.

  15. I think you called the cloud right. It must have been huge. Of course, it must be huge to reach the tropopause.

    We hope your mother feels better.

  16. You are blessed indeed, Robin. Such a lovely cloud to brighten your day and follow you around.

  17. Rain-- The desert skies are pretty magnificent. I bet you see some incredibly beautiful sights on your journeys.

    Mark-- I wrote the Cloud Appreciation Society and hoping for a response soon. I'd love to know what that huge cloud was. Thank you and Leah for your good wishes.

    NCmountainwoman-- We are pretty lucky, and I am pretty obsessed!

  18. Have a lovely and peaceful trip----it's so beautiful here now. Good vibs for your mother! peace, M

  19. I'm really late commenting (the not being able to comment from home thing stinks). That is an awesome cloud--it looks like Mother Nature put a huge anvil there to pound some sense into the human species.
    I hope that by now your mom is well and that you can visit with her.

  20. MandT-- It's been a beautiful and peaceful journey. Thanks for the good vibes for my mom.

    CCorax-- Yes, the anvil cloud! That's what made me think it was an Incus. Still no word from Cloud Appreciation Society for ID. We're here visiting with my mom who seems to be on the road to recovery.