Hint: somewhere in this post is an outright lie.
As I went, I looked up at the sky and was amazed how there was not a single cloud, and the sky was a uniform rich blue. No wispiness, no graduations of color... just a solid, deep cerulean (I'm not familiar with this color, but know it to be a fancy form of blue.)
I thought of that old childhood song, "Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day." When I was a kid, I did not see the attraction of the cloudless sky. I loved clouds (and still do), back when I'd lie on my grassy yard in Vermont and look up, watching the always-moving clouds, performing my own Rorschachian therapy.
But I have to hand it to the California sky: there is something impressive about seeing the sage-green leaves against that broad panel of blue. I always wish I could paint it when I see it like that.
Speaking of leaves, someone on that route has a full-grown holly tree. And as I lurched in my oxygen-deprived state, I kind of ran into it, with several spears digging into my forehead. Those are sharp leaves! I had to rewrite the Christmas carol:
O the holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees within the forest
The holly kicks your ass