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I gotta say whoever is charge of PR for Nevada is doing a really lousy job. Before this trip, my opinion of the state was: flat and boring. It was the state you rushed through (because for a long time there was no speed limit) so you could get to the good states.

Well…was I wrong!!!

We left Provo, Utah with a bit of regret. We all wished we’d stayed at least one or two more days there, but we had reservations in Ely, Nevada, and I’d booked a tour of the Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park for the next morning, so onward we headed: west to Nevada.

Yes, flat and boring Nevada. LOL. Not!

I mean who can resist the idea of passing through Skull Rock Pass?

Unfortunately, while the drive through the pass was pretty, I missed the skull. Can you see it?

Regardless, the views on this drive were consistently extraordinary with range after range of mountains, sweeping vistas, and snow-capped peaks—completely disproving my belief that Nevada was flat.😉

This route took us around the base of Great Basin National Park. Our tickets for the cave tour were for 9AM so we set up camp in the Ely KOA and did an about-face the next morning for one of the most spectacular explorations of the trip!

The Lehman Cave tour is the only way visitors have access to this remarkable spot, so, if you’re going, book ahead. The tours fill up fast. If you’re worried about claustrophobia or whether or not you’re fit enough to do this, don’t be. Paul’s knees managed just fine and I’m no fan of tight spaces, but the entire tour is very accessible and safe.

Here’s an example of the walkway—well-lit, although you did have to duck some of the time. 

Below are random shots that blew my mind because according to our very knowledgeable guide, this cave structure began developing around 515 million years ago. The actual cave passages began to form two to ten million years ago, and when the seas that shaped them receded, the stalactites and stalagmites began to form from snowmelt and rain that percolated through the rock into the cave, drip by drip.

This cave system has some very special features, including: rare speleotherms like the breathtaking Parachute Shield in the Grand Palace.

People began exploring the caves in 1885, when a local rancher stumbled across the opening—and, of course, monetized it. At the time, people had to climb down a steep ladder—candle in hand—to explore freely. Heck, they even had weddings and Boy Scout campouts here. Below, is a photo of one ceiling from the “Autograph Room.” Soot from the candles was used instead of spray paint, but to the same effect. When the National Park Service tried to clean up the area, they found layers of the rock had grown over it, making erasing the past impossible.😉 

Also, early visitors thought nothing of breaking off a stalactite for a souvenir. They either didn’t know or didn’t care that by touching the walls or ceiling or the delicate structures, they “killed” the process of a living cave.

My photos can’t possibly do justice to this remarkable geologic wonder, but I am super proud of this shot.

Next newsletter, I’ll show you the “above ground” beauty of Great Basin. Oh, what a view!

COVER REVEAL & preorder links for:


Her Second-Chance Homecoming
a contemporary western romance set in historic Coyote Springs, California
(Gold Country, Book 4)

The girl “most likely to screw up” returns—secret in hand. Kristin’s done trying to outrun her past, but reconnecting with Donnie, her first and only love, could ruin his one shot at happiness.

She came back to make up for the past—not start a new lie.

Kristin Sullivan is home for good. Her family needs her. Her town needs her, too. Unfortunately, introducing son Zachary to his vengeful father creates a firestorm that threatens both her relationship with Zach and the future plans of Donnie Grimaldo, the only man she’s ever loved. The handsome deputy’s solution? “Marry me.”

His dream job is a go, but what if she’s his real shot at happiness?

Sheriff’s Deputy Donnie Grimaldo is just weeks away from putting Coyote Springs in his rear-view mirror…until all hell breaks loose. He understands why first love Kristin Sullivan kept her son a secret all these years. The boy’s developer father has Donnie’s soon-to-be ex-boss in his pocket. To unseat a corrupt sheriff, Donnie needs leverage—the kind the Sullivan name carries. If Kris chooses to label their union a marriage-of-convenience, so be it. For now.

Coyote Springs is ripe for change—whether the locals want it or not. At least, that’s what runaway triplet Kristin Sullivan sees with an outsiders’ clarity when she returns home. One man has the grit, guts, and experience to lead the fight—Deputy Donnie Grimaldo. Will a common enemy be the catalyst for a second-chance reunion? To find out, read Her Second-Chance Homecoming—Gold Country, Book 4 in this heart-warming series from bestselling author Debra Salonen.


Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Google Play | Apple Books
Release Date: June 20, 2022

Here’s a first for me: a BookFunnel group promo. This one is to acquire newsletter followers, so it won’t be of much interest to you all, BUT there is a free book involved and if you haven’t read BLACK HILLS SECRET SANTA (previously titled Black Hills Outcast), here’s your chance for download it for free. And you might find some new-to-you authors to follow, too.

June Slow Burn FREE Romance

Happy June, my friends! Stay cool and read with abandon!


Coming Monday – 6/20: RELEASE DAY 99¢ SPECIAL
Coming Thursday - 6/23: Great Basin NP really is…GREAT.

Debra Salonen's Book List

Her Gold Country Valentine
The Rancher's and the Widow's First Christmas
Falling for the Stranger
Her Second-Chance Homecoming

Montana Blueprint for Love
Meet Me in Montana
All the Stars in Montana

Her Forever Cowboy
Never Say Never
Caleb's Christmas Wish
A Baby After All
Love, After All
That Cowboy's Forever Family
Forever and Ever, by George

Prince Charming Undercover
The Daddy Gamble
Risky Baby Business
A Match Made in Vegas

Black Hills Baby
Black Hills Billionaire
Black Hills Bad Boy
Black Hills Bachelor
Black Hills Native Son
Black Hills Secret Santa
Black Hills White Knight
Black Hills Rancher
Black Hills Stranger
Black Hills Legacy

Montana Cowgirl
Montana Cowboy
Montana Darling
Montana Maverick
Montana Gift
Montana Miracle

Her Hero to Love
Her Rogue to Tame
Her Rebel to Kiss

Montana Secret Santa
Sweet Summer's Kiss



Copyright © 2021 Debra Salonen