I've always found a magical allure to hitting the open road. Being a city dweller, walking is pretty much all I do, so getting out of town and looking at an open stretch of road from the driver's seat is really thrilling. On my latest adventure, I explored Route 92, which runs east to west from the San Francisco Bay, over the mountains to the coast. It's a nice alternative route to get to Coastal Highway 1 and the Pigeon Point or Point Montara lighthouse hostels.
Many people remember the first time they hugged a giant redwood, encountered a banana slug, or glimpsed the Pacific Ocean. For some, these are travel memories -- but for a lot of Californians, those first-time experiences happen through outdoor education.
Many State and County Parks await visitors to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, and Jane Mauss, the weekend housekeeper at the hostel, is a great resource for outdoor explorers. Born and raised on the San Francisco peninsula, she's made Pescadero her home for over two decades. Jane is pictured here riding her beloved donkey, Johnny Appleseed, who also knows the trails and beaches of Pescadero well. If you don't spot him on the trails near the lighthouse, look for him on stage! He'll be "performing" this spring in the San Francisco Ballet's production of Don Quixote.