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Best driving route down Dalmatian Coast?

I am following much of Rick Steve's driving tour. Picking up a rent car in Zagreb, going to Lake Bled & Plitvices, then working my way down the coast to Dubrovnik. After reading the above posts, I will skip Hvar and catch Korcula from Dubrovnik. My question is: should I keep the rent car for the entire trip? Is there a decent driving route (I'm envisioning California's Route 1) along the Dalmatian coast?

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Yes the coastal road can be painfully slow. 70 kph speed limits. I managed to get a speeding ticket in a Croatian Police radar speed trap on the route to Dubrovnik. No problem just paid the fine and continued on. I had no problem with the Bosnia and Herzegovina boarder either. We took the ferry to the island of Hvar and drove across the island to the city. The view of the harbor and city from the castle was great. Not much to see in the island interior. Finding a place to park near Dubrovnik was not that difficult either (then). Don't forget to drive a bit south of Dubrovnik for the great view of the town from that direction.