Re: Taking I-5 to monterey ?
I have driven two of the three routes you mention. Your option 2 is probably the most scenic with a great lake, some hilly terrain, and options for quick stops at great towns like San Juan Bautista, but it seems to be a bit further than the other two routes.
I drove across CA 46 (your option 1) last fall, and it was pretty flat and easy, but quite a bit of farm traffic across the valley. This would be my guess for the fastest route.
I have never driven your option 3 across 198, so I can't be of any help here.
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