I'm trying to find the quickest and easiest drive from San Diego to SLO on Wednesday 9/29 in the afternoon. We have been to SLO before (beautiful!) and have done the long drive up the 101, but this trip is a business trip. Our final destination is Monterey, but we're staying at a friend's house for the night (Wednesday) to break the drive up a bit.
I know it will be right in the middle of rush hour, but we have no choice. We're leaving Encinitas at 2pm (hopefully no later).
I'm trying to find out how the following drives compare to the coastal 101 through Santa Barbara (I am trying to avoid having to go through SB from past experience also getting stuck in traffic in Th. Oaks, Oxnard, Ventura, etc.):
1) Stay on I-5 and go west at Exit 225 (Maricopa), taking the 166 to where it connects back to the 101. (This appears on googlemaps to be a mountain pass, so I'm thinking this is NOT the route to go.)
2) Stay on I-5 and take the Buttonwillow 257 exit, follow the 58 west and then head South on 101 to the 1. (I know this backtracks a bit at the end.)
I haven't been on the 5 during this time of day in decades so don't know if the traffic is just as bad on the interstate as it would be on the 101.
Thank you in advance for your responses!