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Santa Monica to Big Sur: Is there an alternative to PCH

Santa Monica to Big Sur: Is there an alternative to PCH

Old Nov 7th, 2006, 08:01 PM
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Santa Monica to Big Sur: Is there an alternative to PCH

We plan to drive to Ventana Inn from Santa Monica, and wonder if there is an alternative highway route that shortcuts long coastal drive ... at least for one way of trip....like driving back to Long Beach for flight home. Thanks
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Old Nov 7th, 2006, 08:22 PM
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It's probably much easier to drive 101 up to Carmel and then just shoot down 1 to Ventana...and same going home.
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Old Nov 7th, 2006, 08:24 PM
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There are some very good map sites on the Net. Have you tried Google?

I suggest you take the 405 to the 101 and then cross over to 1 at San Luis Obispo.
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Old Nov 8th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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Tess, how long is it from the south entrance of the coast highway to Ventana? I was just thinking that they were trying to avoid that drive at least one way - I don't know.
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Old Nov 8th, 2006, 07:27 AM
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I would take the 405 to 101, then take 46 West (just before Paso Robles) over to Hwy 1. Best combo of freeways and pretty scenery.
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Old Nov 8th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Basically, there really aren't any roads over the mountains to between Carmel and Hwy 46 that connect the coast to the inland valley - well private roads, but no public ones. So from Ventana, you've either got to go north to Carmel and then around to Hwy 101 and then head south or you can head south on 1 to 46 and then catch 101 from there or 1 south to 101 at San Luis Obispo. I am not sure which is faster though.

I'd use Yahoo maps or something and plot each route. The mapping programs will give you the statistics.
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Old Nov 8th, 2006, 02:40 PM
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I've taken 5 to 156 and cut over to the coast and Monterey and then down to
Big Sur. The really curvy part of the trip is cut in about half to about 45 minutes. You go north of Big Sur and back track a bit but I think the total time is about the same with the drive a bit easier.
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Old Nov 8th, 2006, 03:48 PM
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I would think that from the western part of the LA area, cutting over to I5 would add extra time versus heading up Hwy 101 - with Hwy 101 you don't need to go nearly as far inland. The speeds on I5 are greater, but I don't know if the the speed would justify the added distance.
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Old Nov 8th, 2006, 06:04 PM
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Thanks. Yes, I have looked at the maps. I was hoping there was some secret route over the mountains. We've driven the PCH both ways a few times, even in a wind and rain storm (which is white knuckle memorable). It's beautiful, but it can be nerve-bending, and this will be at the Christmas holiday. I was hoping to find an option if I needed it.
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Old Nov 9th, 2006, 08:40 PM
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OK, now that I better understand what you wanted. Avoiding Hwy 1, this is what we do and we go back and forth to the Santa Monica area, often. 101 up and down is the SLOW way. The fastest way is to take the 405 to I-5 to 152 (Pacheco Pass) to 156 (San Juan Bautista) to the 101S to 156 Castroville to 1 Monterey and then to Big Sur. We can make it to Carmel in 5-6 hours, depending on traffic and time and that's a lot faster than 101 or 1.
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 08:33 PM
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ttess -

thank you. i will use your route, but i gather i should give the trip 6-7 hours to get from santa monica to big sur. right?
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Old Nov 12th, 2006, 07:11 AM
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You don't say what time of day you're doing your driving... but you may be missing some great stuff... I' take the 405 to the 101 until SAnta Barbara and theen take the 152 San Marcos Pass through the wine country... maybe have lunch or dinner in Los Olivos and do a little shopping in Santa Ynez.

Pick up the 101 again until you want to cut over to the 1... if you cut over at Paso Robles on 46... you'll see beautiful vineyards and many wineries.

Great places to meander around... on at least one portion of your drive!
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Old Nov 12th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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Isn't San Marcos Pass Hwy 154? Hwy 152 goes over Pacheco and Hecker Passes. Just trying to avoid any possible route confussion. I agree though - that is a nice route.
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