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Avoiding traffic snarls Amgen 2013

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sydney
Level Contributor
8 posts
39 reviews
Avoiding traffic snarls Amgen 2013

We would love some advice on an overnight stay May 14, before flying out of LAX on the evening of May 15. Leaving Carmel on May 14, we had been thinking Santa Barbara would be a good place to stay, until we read about the Tour of California cycle race. Stage 4 goes from Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara on May 14, so we guess that area would be best avoided. Any advice on an alternative would be much appreciated!

Dublin, California
Level Contributor
17,087 posts
43 reviews
1. Re: Avoiding traffic snarls Amgen 2013

You may want to think about Cambria, a much smaller city than Santa Barbara and not nearly the number of restaurants, but is usually a good stopping point after Big Sur.

sydney
Level Contributor
8 posts
39 reviews
2. Re: Avoiding traffic snarls Amgen 2013

Thanks. Cambria looks lovely. What route would you advise to LAX next day for flight out, avoiding Santa Barbara and Santa Clarita?

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
10,837 posts
106 reviews
3. Re: Avoiding traffic snarls Amgen 2013

Cambria to LAX is a long way - and, in fact, you're more likely to run into race-related traffic leaving from Cambria. Santa Barbara is almost always a bottleneck for traffic (my daughter drives it daily).

The race from Santa Clarita starts in Santa Clarita - about 70 miles away - early that morning. No one will be lining the streets on the morning of the race.

South SB (near the wharf or further south) to LAX: I'd allow 3.5 hours. I live 50 minutes south of SB and we allow 2 hours at a minimum (plus car drop off time). We know alternate routes.

There is *no way* to avoid Santa Barbara from Cambria, unless you use state roads to cut inland to the 5 - which I would not advise as a time-saving alternative (and it would still go through Santa Clarita).

You're over-estimating the effects of a bike race (which will mostly be on roads you'll never see). Cambria is lovely, but I'd allow myself 6 hours just in case, from Cambria (the longer the route, the more variables you could encounter, and there are plenty of bottlenecks on days whether there are bike races or not).

So, SB - to LAX, 3 hours if all is well (with or without bike race, which will not affect you in the morning). Cambria to SB - 2 hours, then, if there's the usual north to south slowdown in SB (which happens with or without bike race), allow an extra hour just in case (can also slow down at multiple other places - if this is an international flight and you need to drop off a car, SB is a much better choice).

Or Carpinteria or Ventura. I'd enjoy my day, but the scenery of the town I'm staying in would not be my top priority on a day when I have to catch a flight at LAX (and Carpinteria and Ventura are pretty, too).

sydney
Level Contributor
8 posts
39 reviews
4. Re: Avoiding traffic snarls Amgen 2013

Thanks so much, CookieDartmouth, for such good local info. It's good to be prepared for slow moving traffic where it occurs. We will book with that in mind. On paper it looks such a short way, doesnt it? The race doesn't leave SC until 12.30 so we will be well clear of it. Our flight to Sydney, Australia, isn't until late in the evening, but I'm sure we will find plenty of interest during the day and allow plenty of time to return car, etc. thanks again!

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
18,386 posts
10 reviews
5. Re: Avoiding traffic snarls Amgen 2013

The bike race won't be on the major roadways. However, the highways could potentially be bottle-necked with traffic coming into and/or leaving the race start/end.

The 15th won't be any better. That stage ends in Avila Beach, so traffic on Highway 101 through the Avila Valley/Pismo Beach area could be heavy if you were to overnight in Cambria.

I think Cookie has the right idea. Cambria to LAX is close to a 5 hour drive without stops. I usually recommend against driving from Monterey/Carmel to Santa Barbara all in one day, but in this case, might be the better option for your situation.

sydney
Level Contributor
8 posts
39 reviews
6. Re: Avoiding traffic snarls Amgen 2013

Many thanks for your good advice. We will be driving the Cambria to Carmel section twice, so hopefully what we don't see one way, we will see on the way back. Santa Barbara or Ventura would then be our overnight stop, and we will be clear of the race itself. We will have a whole day to make our way to LAX from there, so any other holdups in traffic won't matter much. Once again. We are grateful for the local advice..

7. Re: Avoiding traffic snarls Amgen 2013

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