Martha had never been down Highway 25 between Hollister and San Miguel, and I’d only done it in the summer and fall. We knew it was the right decision as soon as we cleared the suburban sprawl south of Hollister. “Oh, my, this is so beautiful,” Martha cooed over the headset. “I feel like I’ve never seen this part of California.” We chased a ribbon of pavement through valleys bracketed by deep-green foothills, normally brown in winter and fall but alive with color after winter rain. Cattle gazed at us. Ground squirrels skittered. Clouds formed and dissipated on the horizon.