The 101 Freeway is often jammed between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria because the freeway is only 2 lanes in each direction. However there is another secret route that no one knows about. You can go all the way from Ellwood to Carpinteria skipping the 101 freeway altogether. On 101 Southbound get off at any exit and go north to Cathedral Oaks Road. You can even get off at the very first exit which is the Hollister exit. Then just follow Cathedral Oaks all the way to Carpinteria. At the intersection with highway 150 Cathedral Oaks Road gets renamed to Foothill Road, but you won't even know it. Foothill Road eventually becomes highway 192. Just follow the signs and stay on 192 all the way to Carpinteria.

Most of the route is 35 MPH and some parts of 192 are winding mountain road not suitable for a large motorhome or trailer, but for a car it's a beautiful pleasant ride and it only takes 20 minutes longer than the 101 freeway IF there's no traffic on 101. However, if there is a traffic jam on the 101 freeway, which there often is, then this secret Cathedral Oaks/Foothill/192 route is much faster because of a little known law of physics called "moving". It's amazing how fast you can get places at 35 MPH compared to not moving at all in a traffic jam.

It's a very pleasant scenic route. And when you go through Montecito you'll be driving past the estates of several movie stars without even knowing it. They tend to keep it quiet about exactly where they live. I'm told John Cleese and Oprah Winfrey both live on East Valley Road (part of 192). You'll drive right by Oprah's Driveway and John's ranch and won't even know it.

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Back to State Street Underpass