I am planning a bike tour in a few weeks from San Jose (Campbell, CA actually) down the coast to Orange County along the coast and I am trying to solicit some advice from people here who have done this trip before. The challenge I have is to cover with a touring bike about 100 miles each day, so that I can cover the 500 mile distance in about 5 days. Because of the distance, even small efficiencies and and short-cuts are important, hence, my questions here. I have several questions and I'll begin by posting my first question in this thread.
My first question is what people's experiences have been finding the best route from San Jose to Big Sur, if you have done this route before. I'm entertaining two different options:
1. From San Jose, follow the bike route till the Lexington Reservoir lake south of Los Gatos and from there using the Old Santa Cruz Hwy and Summit Rd (over the mtns), Soquel San Jose Rd, Soquel Dr, San Andreas Rd, and Cabrillo Hwy which will lead to Big Sur.
2. Avoid the mtns altogether, by roughly following the 101 till about Gilroy, break west on Chittenden Rd/Riverside Rd to Watsonville till I meet with Cabrillo Hwy there. There's a stretch though between Gilroy and Chittenden Rd where there are no surface street (only the 101 fwy) unless I make a big circle around, like using Bolsa and San Juan Hwy.
The first option seems to have less traffic, but some 1000 ft climbs, while the second option has no climbs, but more traffic and it's probably more hot. I am leaning towards option 1, but I'd appreciate some advice and thoughts to see what worked for you bike tourers out there. Or, if you have any other ideas of routes that I can take that I haven't thought about it before, I'd really appreciate your insights!
Thanks so much in advance!