Saturday, November 2, 2013

Benton, Babies and a Wedding

I like the 1/2!!
      Recently Christine and I headed over the great Sierra Nevada Mountains and headed to Benton Hot Springs. Over the years we have driven past Benton Hot Springs without much thought as to what was there and why hot springs would flow in that exact location. This time, Benton Hot Springs was our destination. We went to meet our wonderful friends and celebrate the mother of the house and her 34th glorious trip around the sun. It was a wonderful time to go back and explore geology for a few days!
        My formal education in geology and working in the geologic field for a number of years gave me a good idea as to why the water was warm. Magma is close to the surface based upon the proximity of Mammoth and the Long Valley Caldera. But the more precise question was, why there? I knew there was a notch in the granite above the hot spring and a fair amount of ground water must percolate through there based upon the surrounding water bodies and the rock types. But why the heat? From the  looks of the surrounding landscape and rock types, the granite has been very stable for being located adjacent to the massive Long Valley Caldera. Secondly all along the contact of the granite heading north was a deposition of hot spring materials. The material was not quite as solid as your typical travertine, but definitely a solid and solidified deposition. Furthermore, there was none of the deposition to the south. It was obvious that these hot springs have flowed in this proximity for many many years. With the adjoining granite along the contact between the two it made completely sense. Plus the hardened deposition has continued to push the springs further and further to the south. These are at least my theories, regardless of how and why the springs are there, the nice wooden baths for soaking were awesome!

      I par took each day and enjoyed the relaxing spring (which were not sulfery in the slightest). Christine only let the water come up to her thighs because she was worried about cooking our little unknown inside her. As you can see by the photos, and by the commentary, we are quite pregnant!! In fact, tonight is Nov 2nd, and tomorrow is our due date. We still do not know if we are having a boy or a girl. We wanted to have "life's" greatest surprise, surprise us!!
Christine and I at her Mother's Wedding
    Life has been filled to the max with prepping for the arrival. But in the interim, we had to head South for a wedding. It was a grand trip to Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach and San Diego for Terry and Carl's wedding. Terry is Christine's mother and Terry and Carl have been together for 26 years. They sure took their time getting married. I guess I can get away with waiting a little longer. Christine and I had a blast. Here she is 36weeks, at a wedding, 9 hours from home.........well... 13 hours since bathrooms breaks were often!! Plus we broke up the trip and stayed with friends and family on the way down and back. Still, very close to the due date. Although, being on the eve of the due date tonight, we are on the very brink of heading to the hospital!

         When we go on these wonderful trips, I go to the antique stores, art galleries, children's stores and anywhere else I might be able to find designs and ideas. You never know what you will come across, or even find. Many times I compare if I could build them or replicate them. Do I like the style? What the asking price is? Often I make a rough estimate on the time it would take me to make the item. Would I make it from scratch? All good questions for days out and about. I love my hobby!
             On these trips I love collecting wood. Down in San Diego there are interesting trees that I wish we had closer to home. The dry desert and the moist coastal climate produces some wonderfully stunted gnarly trees, many of which  have amazing burls! Although I love seeing and drooling over these semi exotic woods, I still love my mountain trees and the items they offer. 

        One of our favorite woods is Black Oak. The black oak changing table in the photos I made a couple months ago. The tree fell near my fathers home during a big storm a few years ago. We actually milled the tree where it fell with the alaskan mill. Afterward we let the wood cure for about two years. We planned and cut the wood down to size. I (my father thought this could be my personal enjoyment into fatherhood) shaped, carved, sanded and put the pieces together. It was a super fun project and hopefully be rewarded with a nice healthy baby to change those little diapers! I was so excited to complete the project I found myself bummed waiting for the glue to dry.  Now obviously two years ago when I milled the wood I had no idea that we would be pregnant. To be  honest, I originally planned to make a rustic kitchen table. I find it funny that I am happier with it as a it is. We know how plans change when you get pregnant!!

Christine and my little sis


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