Posted by Ric Garrido

Yesterday I drove some back roads in Monterey County on the long way home.

Since I have written about back roads across other western states this past month, I’ll share a few photos of Monterey County’s alternate route to Carmel/Monterey. Coming from the south the distance is a little shorter than Highway 101/Highway 68 to Monterey, but the drive is a whole lot slower.

Carmel Valley Road Google Satellite Map

After 420 miles driving from Las Vegas on four hours sleep, I needed to add a little gravel to the travel and a little drive grind to stimulate my mind and stay awake for the last two hours home.

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Vineyards and a pasture at the base of mountain heavens in the Santa Lucia Range.

Carmel Valley Road should really be called Carmel Valley mountains country road. The 60-mile drive from Highway 101 King City to Carmel, California on the coast makes the Big Sur Highway 1 drive seem like an interstate highway.

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The vineyards seem to be encroaching on the wilderness everywhere, yet there is still plenty of natural mountain scenery to enjoy on the hour-plus drive between the wineries on the eastern side of the Santa Lucia Range and Carmel Valley Village 37 miles to the northwest.

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Ridgetop view from Carmel Valley Road.

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At times the road seems like it goes on forever as the time passes over an hour and Carmel-by-the-sea is still 28 miles away.

Carmel Valley Road is the long way to Carmel, but taking the back road with its twisting curves, one-lane bridges, turkey vultures’ wings shining brightly in the clear sky sun overhead kept me engaged for the final miles home to Monterey.

There’s no place like home.

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Rural Monterey County on Carmel Valley Road.

Best part of all was feeling the sea air of Carmel and Monterey at 67 F.

I slept better last night with the cool ocean breeze flowing through the bedroom window than I have in weeks of big city nights in Toronto and Las Vegas.

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Monterey, California.

2 Responses

  1. Cool. Been about 26 years since I last entered Carmel that way…

    Comment by AlohaDaveKennedy on June 13th, 2013 at 11:25 am
  2. @AlohaDaveKennedy – I think it was 1991 since I last drove the whole length of Carmel Valley Road on a camping trip to Arroyo Seco and the slot canyon river trek.

    Last January I suggested people drive Carmel Valley Road to experience the wineries on River Road in Salinas Valley.

    My caveat now is drive the Carmel Valley Road first thing in the morning and go north up the River Road to visit the wineries.

    You don’t want to be driving or be a passenger on Carmel Valley Road after drinking wine. This road takes a clear mind for driving the twisting roads over the oak covered hills.

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