Photo Girl Travels

Taking the Road Less Traveled

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Not a Cloud in the Sky


I can’t believe it’s January!!! There’s not a cloud in the sky and the for cast is telling me it should drop over the 70 degrees mark. Feeling blessed to have the opportunity to travel along on one of my favorite trips!

Highway 1 to Mendocino


It’s probably a little crazy to travel anywhere on the 4th of July, but here I am looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in fog. I took off at 6am so I could get through San Francisco before the masses could spread out onto the roads. I’ll head north for a few miles and the cut over to highway one the first chance I get. Happy 4th everyone!!!






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Mount Shasta, California

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Mount Shasta Reflection in Siskiyou Lake at Sunrise

Mount Shasta Reflection in Siskiyou Lake at Sunrise

If you’ve never driven on Highway 5 and had the chance to see this active volcano located at the southern end of the Cascade Range in Siskiyou County, California, you’re really missing out. One of the most impressive things is that you see it’s white capped mountain top about 140 miles before you even get to it (if it’s a clear, sunny day) It’s that huge!

Mount Shasta Photo taken when I pulled off the highway about 50 miles away

Mount Shasta Photo taken when I pulled off the highway about 50 miles away

The oldest human habitation in the area around Mount Shasta is about 7000 years ago. And by about 5000 years ago, there was substantial human habitation in this area. (I find that quite amazing) Although it is covered with snow, John Muir wrote a dramatic article about an experience in which he survived an overnight blizzard on Mount Shasta by lying in the hot sulfur springs found near the summit. (I personally am not sure I would have ever left the warm, cozy springs and would, to this day, be a shriveled raisin waiting for someone with a heated blanket to pick me up…)

Here are some photos I shot. These were on the way to the town of Mount Shasta which sits at the base of the mountain. I love cows so was over the moon when I saw them grazing in a field with the mountain in the background:

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I kept seeing photos of the mountain by a lake. I guess I thought I’d drive out to this lake which would be in the middle of a state national park and shoot my photos like Ansel Adams. The lake is actually called Lake Siskiyou and is located by where I stayed – The Mount Shasta Resort – which I’ll tell you about next. If you want to take photos with the lake in the foreground, you’ll need to drive to Lake Siskiyou and then find the Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort. You can also camp in this park, swim and hike. It will cost you $1.00 to enter the park for the day which in my book is a deal. Here are the photos I shot around 7:30am.

Mount Shasta Reflection in Siskiyou Lake at Sunrise

Mount Shasta Reflection in Siskiyou Lake at Sunrise

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Here is a small shop where you can get food, drinks, bait, etc. once you’re in the park.

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Where to Stay: Mount Shasta Resort

I stayed at the Mount Shasta Resort which is located by/on Lake Siskiyou. Before I tell you about the place I have to make note of the service. Everyone was VERY helpful, professional and super friendly. Which is really nice when you’ve been driving for a long time. A special thanks to Christy for all of her help. If you do stay there ask for her and please tell her Photo Girl says hi! I stayed in one of the Chalets which are located directly on Lake Siskiyou. They are quiet, peaceful and very relaxing. You’ll find a kitchen, bedroom(s), fireplace, living room and some have private decks. Also, the view when you check in is pretty amazing. The first image is what you see. Behind you is a gorgeous golf course. (Dad’s play free on Father’s Day and I believe you can also play for free on your birthday!) Here are some of the photos:

Mount Shasta Resort Check In View

Mount Shasta Resort Check In View

Here are some photos of the room:

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In the morning I took a walk through the parking lot and over to the lake’s edge:

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I hope you’ll have a chance to visit this beautiful area! Next, I’m going to take you along when I buy a set of golf clubs πŸ˜‰

Key links:

City of Mount Shasta:

Mount Shasta Resort:

Would you like a print? Please click on β€œContact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image Β½ inch off the wall.

Β©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

Ceago Winery, an Italian Oasis on Clear Lake California

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Between the villages of Nice and Lucerne on the north shore Clear Lake is an Italian oasis that will take your breath away. I had originally found it on the Internet and decided to drive over and take a look yesterday, after I drove through the tree in the Redwood Forest. California is a bit like that, the terrain can completely change after driving for an hour or two.

The villa is charming and quite elegant. It was almost 100 degrees when I arrived so when I stepped through the doors the cool air felt amazing. I walked through the villa, past the wine tasting room and the out into a courtyard. There were groups of people eating, and sipping wine and I felt like I was in Tuscany.

Then, when I looked ahead of me I could not believe my eyes. A huge blanket of lavender lined a pathway that lead out to the lake! It was gorgeous! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves because I truly can’t describe the beauty.






The last photo is looking back toward the villa. If you turn around you’ll see the dock that leads out to the lake.





The following photos are of the gardens and one last on in the tasting room. In The gardens you’ll find fig trees, apples, citrus and a few bees. BTW…The wine is fabulous and yes, I did buy a few bottles. πŸ˜‰







Quick links:

Link to their website:

Also, the 9th Annual Lavender Harvest Celebration is Saturday, July 6th, 1-5pm. For more information go to “events” at, or you can purchase tickets by emailing I’ve never been butΒ again,Β the lavenderΒ fields that you find behind the villa are absolutely amazing! Β If you do go please let me know!Β  Shelley


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Yes… I Did Drive Through a Tree

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Driving through the Redwood Forest takes a very patient person (which I am not) You creep along at 5-10 miles an hour, taking hairpin turns with your eyes peeled – looking for a bike rider who is either flying along like a bat out of hell, or peddling with all their might and you’d swear they were not moving, or yes, pushing their bike. Is this fun I ask? ??? I say no but there I am driving like a slug with a death grip on the wheel.

After a 75 mile drive that took me longer than I’d like to admit, I decided to drive through…well, a tree. Thank heavens there was one along the way that allowed me to do just that. It’s called the chandelier tree and
it’s at the 1/101 junction. Here are some pics just after my Redwood adventure.



So we’re not heading further north and I’m figuring out plan B … Stay tuned for our next stop!

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The Historic Mendocino Haunted Hotel

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When I come to Mendocino one of my favorite places to stay is The Mendocino Hotel. It’s located in downtown Mendocino on Main Street. Directly across the street is an open field lined with walking paths, leading down to the cliffs that over look the ocean.

The hotel is pure, historic elegance and you feel like you’ve stepped back in time the moment you walk through the front doors. The bar area is exquisite as you can see in the photo. Also the restaurant is Zagat rated and the food is VERY good. In the morning there is complementary fresh brewed coffee and hot teas.

As for the ghost? It’s a she and she has been seen throughout the hotel by guests and people who work here. I personally did not get a glimpse of her ghostly flowing dress… Thank heavens! And Boo!

Here is an earlier post with some additional photos; πŸ˜‰




The last two photos are of the view you have from the balcony on the second floor. I took those last night before my walk….

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