Monday, April 23, 2018

Still On The Road

We've been on the road since April 9th, and for a bunch of homebodies like us, that's a crazy long time. Several months ago Roger contacted his far-flung siblings and suggested a long overdue family reunion. It had been six years since they were all together. So, we booked the family beach house for the week of April 21st. We didn't know then that we were going to be at my mom's memorial on the 14th, so what started out as a plan for family fun suddenly had to be extended for other sad journeys.
The upside of driving back from the southern part of the journey was the ride through the rich green spring time of California's lush productive valleys. The breathtaking skies and rolling hills were a heart-soothing balance to the heartbreak of memorials, a necessary reminder of all that is still and always beautiful.

My twin brother traveled the same highway north after the memorial and was also renewed by the views of our rich earth. He photographed this on his way home.
On our way north we stopped and spent the night in Pismo Beach, a lovely quiet little town on the central coast. The hillsides were bright yellow against the blue skies.
We don't often stay in hotels, but we decided to just have a quiet night before the reunion began. The hotel we stayed in was right at the beach, so of course we ventured down to take a look around. That's when we noticed this.
We had never seen such crazy white stone before. I thought it might be erosion repair work, but it wasn't. It was actual rocky cliff face. So, of course I had to google around to find out what we were looking at. Turns out it's called tuff, a light, porous rock formed by consolidation of volcanic ash. I found one website that described the formation:
Pick up a small piece lying on the beach and crush it in your hand. Notice how powdery it is, and if you look very closely at the individual grains, you'll notice that they are angular. This rock is a tuff. It was made from ancient volcanic ash that landed on the ocean and settled to the bottom building up over many years. This ash was eventually buried to depths sufficient to produce temperatures and pressures necessary to petrify it into the tuff, was later uplifted, and the erosion exposed it for us to see today. There was enough ash generated to ultimately create tuff hundreds of feet thick in this area.
I wish I had picked up some pieces of this tuff stuff. I didn't. But I did photograph a large rock of it that had broken off.
The next day we headed north to the reunion, where we still are as I type this. We're staying until Wednesday, and then begin the long drive home. It's been quite a journey. We're tired, but seeing the beauty of our earth is our way of healing.

18 comments:

  1. What a beautiful rock formation. I think Smith Rock, a climbing area in Oregon, is also a form of tuff. Did some climbing there several years ago.
    Have a good reunion.

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    1. isabelita-- Yes, Smith Rock is a tuff formation! I love knowing that. They're not always white, but they are always cool.

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  2. Fun to learn about the tuff stuff. I hope you are well and enjoying this extended journey.

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    1. Colette-- It is fun to learn new stuff while we're on the road. It keeps me somewhat sane. We're okay, tired and looking forward to the ride home.

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  3. How interesting to learn about, and see the tuff. It must not be considered rare, though I've never run into it....like I've seen everything, right? Enjoy your homecoming soon.

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    1. Barbara-- You made me laugh out loud..."like I've seen everything..." Thank you for that. The world reminds us of what we don't know. I love it!

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  4. It is really beautiful in its stark whiteness. Thanks for the info. You always go the extra step when many would just pass by and say-"Hum, pretty rock."

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    1. Patti-- I have another photo that I probably should have posted that shows how far the whiteness goes along cliffs. It's pretty fantastic. There isn't a lot written about this formation, so I think a lot of people do just walk by.

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  5. That cliff face reminds me of the white cliffs of dover. i wonder if that is tuff, too? enjoy your reunion. hope you can rest a bit while it's going on.

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    1. 37paddington-- I don't know if the White Cliffs of Dover are tuff. That would be so cool. We're trying to balance the reunion with our need for some down time. So far so good.

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  6. Beautiful photos! I've never heard of the kind of rock -- so glad you researched it.

    We'll talk after you get home - want to catch up. I'm off to Colorado on next Saturday.

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    1. Tara-- The best part of the internet is finding answers to real questions about real things. When we find something we don't know, we say "Go get the learning machine." Yes, let's talk. It's been a long time in so many ways.

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  7. I'd better post a photo of were I was last week for Skywatch, it should lift your spirits further

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    1. Bill-- I can't wait to see your photo!

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  8. I'm glad you're enjoying such beautiful landscapes in the midst of such a sad time.

    Pismo Beach always makes me think of Bugs Bunny. Wasn't there a cartoon where he leaped out of his hole wearing a bathing suit, and yelled, "Pismo Beach! At last!" (I think there was a "Miami Beach" version of that same gag in a different cartoon, too...)

    Anyway, I've heard of tuff, but I didn't know it looked like that. It reminds me of our British chalk cliffs!

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    1. Steve-- I'm going to have to google around to see if I can find that Bugs Bunny quote. It sounds so familiar. The cliffs surprised us so much. Loved it!

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  9. Glad you took some time out to rest and do some walking around. Nature almost never fails to hit my reset button. Interesting about the tuff. Chiricahua National Monument near Bisbee has welded tuff -- basically, the volcanic ash from a nearby eruption filled a huge bowl shaped valley and then water worked down through the compacted ash creating one of the most bizarre rock formations I've ever seen. Rock columns many stories high standing inside the canyon. I used to like to take visiting friends there to a certain look-off to surprise them. Always worked! :)

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    1. bev-- I love seeing new formations that inspire me to learn something new about our ever-changing planet. Yes, nature almost never fails to hit my reset button.

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