Highway 17 and Highway 1 are by far two of my favorites, I enjoy the drive down highway 17 due to the challenge and the thrill of driving my car there, and Highway 1 for the scenic views.
Traveling any time during the weekend to Carmel or the South Bay requires starting trip early in the morning no later than 10am. Traffic can get rough down Highway 17, and try to avoid the drive down during the rainy seasons as this is a real concern for landslides and mudslides. Since Highway 17 only has two lanes, one can imagine how tough the drive will get.
Be sure to stop by, if time permits, for fresh fruits around the inner citys during the drive. Cherries, oranges, and apples are freshly picked that day and are offer at bargain prices. You can even pick up a Bonsai tree if you like. Also, look out for cottages and unique building fascades while on the way down. About 25 to 30 miles out of Carmel, the scene changes to a playful background, i.e. the dolphins landmark. Of course, drive safe and be courteous to your fellow drivers.
From the East Bay, the drive took about 1 hour and 35 minutes to reach the Mission home at Carmel, CA.