gravel *urgh!*

Does anybody else have this problem.  The gravel I bought from the 
local pet store (they call themselves a pet store, debatable!) is 
buffering my pH to 7.6 and holding strong.  So I decide I'm going to 
replace my investment with sandblasting grit.  The grit that comes 
from local gravel yards here in Utah buffers R.O. water to 7.6 and 
holds strong, my co2 tank can't even lower it.  I have even 
investigated the soil around here and can't find anything that won't 
raise my pH.

At homedepot they sell an all silica sandblasting grit that didn't 
raise my pH, but it's as fine as sand, and it all white (ugly).  

I even put a small handful of local sand blasting grit in some 
sulfuric acid.  It bubbles for a day and stopped.  I rinsed it and 
placed it in a cup of R.O. water and the pH stopped at 6.9-7.0.  
Perfect I thought, but the hardness of the water rose to over 400 
ppm, urgh!

I could try and have some shipped in from another state, but when 
shipping company's charge by the pound, the cost of supply my 135 
gallon aquarium with gravel would be extreme.

What's a aquatic plant lover to do?