route to monterey

Old Aug 16th, 2006, 05:42 AM
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route to monterey

We have arranged car hire for our road trip from Farrell Street in San Francisco. We will be picking the car up about 9am on a weekday morning and would like to be in Monterey for an early lunch. We won't go down Highway 1 as possibly a bit slow and we will be able to enjoy the coastal scenery when we drive Big Sur. Would like a scenic route if possible but not if its hard to find/follow or difficut to drive bearing in mind this is first time I will have driven 'on the other side of the road' and it will be a strange car eg automatic transmission and a size bigger than what I drive at home in the UK!

Is there a good central carpark in Monterey - we want to go to Aquarium and do the town history trail.

Also, I need to buy some maps when in San Francisco - am going to Arizona as well as California- what is best series of maps to buy?
Thanks, Hilary
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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Hilary, I'm sorry, but I just HAVE to correct you. In San Francisco, if you ask directions to "Farrell" Street, people may not understand, as the street is "O'Farrell". Don't drop the O.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 08:25 AM
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Out of SF take 101 South to 280.

Go 280 South to 85 South (this bypasses San Jose).

Then you have two options:

1. Take 85 South till it connects backs to 101 South and then cut over to the coast on 156 West. Take 152 until you get to CA-1 then take CA-1 South to Monterey.

2. Take 85 South till 17. Take 17 South to Santa Cruz. In Santa Cruz take CA-1 South to Monterey.

Option 1 is probably 1 hour faster than option 2 but less scenic.

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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 09:26 AM
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Just a slight correction. I'm sure saps meant to say "take 156 until you get to CA-1".

I drive it all the time. In fact, I'm heading to Carmel this morning taking the same route.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 09:27 AM
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Being your first experience driving on the right, I would take Saps' option #1. The road is a lot easier to drive - less scenic, but fewer twists and turns. If you take option #2, that will send you over the Santa Cruz mountains on Hwy 17, which I think it a great road, but I wouldn't want to drive it if I wasn't used to driving on the right. One typo correction for option 1 though - Hwy 152 should be Hwy 156 in the directions. There is a Hwy 152 down that way as well and it is very twisty. 156 is reasonably straight.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 09:30 AM
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Good Catch...Sorry. I meant to say 156 West to CA-1.

There is a 152 right past Gilroy. Do NOT take it. It will take you up and over a mountain.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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Isn't Big Sur after Carmel and Monterrey when you come from S.Francisco ?Paul
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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Just to clarify:

Take 80/101 S in SF until you get to the 280/101 split; take 280 S to 85 (Gilroy Exit), stay on 85 until it merges with 101 S; take 101 S to 156 (Monterey Peninsula Exit), then take 156 to 1 and follow signs for Monterey.

Except for getting to 80/101 in downtown SF, most of the driving will be on freeway/divided roads, which should be less difficult for someone used to driving on the "other side of the road".
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Highway 1 between San Francisco and Monterey isn't particularly slow, is a lot prettier and is a lot less stressful, IMO.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 01:38 PM
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Yes - Big Sur is south of Monterey. I think Hilary meant that after visiting Monterey, they are heading further south.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 01:39 PM
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H0b0--I respectfully beg to differ--1 is slower and I think it might be slightly more stressful for a driver who is used to driving on the other side of the road, particularly in two lane stretches such as Devil's Slide.
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 07:39 AM
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Thanks everyone! Sap's route 1 it is as we want to be in Monterey for the Wednesday noon walking tour. Could someone give me an indication of driving time-a couple of hours or longer?
Could I just ask again please, thoughts, anyone on good maps to buy for a road tour of California and Arizona? Thanks for all the fantastic help I have been given. Hilary
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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SF to Monterey (with no major traffic) should be about 2.5 hours on the route you've chosen.

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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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Agree with saps driving time.

Parking won't be difficult but you mention the Aquarium which is in Cannery Row. I believe the Town Hall History Trail will be closer to the Monterey Wharf. You will want to change parking lots as it is too far to walk from the Wharf to the Aquarium. Be prepared with change in case you need to park in a spot with a meter.
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 11:10 AM
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I usually get maps from AAA if I need one, I can't remember if they are available to nonmembers. Rand McNally makes good road maps also as I recall. As for SF, you can usually pick one up in most tourist locations.
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 11:13 AM
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Near the aquarium there is a reasonably large (3-4 level) parking garage. When you come off of Hwy 1, follow the signs to Canery Row and you will go right by it. There is also street parking, but this way you don't have to worry about the meter. You just pay the attendent when you leave.

For maps, we usually get ours from AAA. A lot of book stores carry maps as well. If you want an atlas-type book with detailed streets for a particular city or state, Thomas Guides is really good. Barnes and Noble (bookstore) sells some great maps that are laminated so you can spill on them and not ruin them - not sure what they are called.
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