After just a week on vacation, I've been through some serious highs and lows. One good note has been our stay in a delightful little hotel in Riverton, WY. The place is called the South Federal Inn (http://www.southfederalinn.com/); it's an old motor lodge, an original motel, from the 1950's with two private garages for the high end suites. Our room had had to areas for sleeping, so I had a little privacy. The innkeeper, Jennifer Thomas, was wonderful. She gave us such a warm reception and was so kind and charming while greeting us and showing us our room. The morning of our departure, she came to see us off at 7:30 a.m., to give us directions in Wyoming, and to offer advice about moose and elk on the road as we passed through the Snake River Valley below the Grand Tetons.
On the way to Riverton, we passed through the entire state of South Dakota going from Sioux Falls to Rapid City. We were able to see both Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. We also passed through the Badlands and visited the famous Wall Drug. All of us agreed we could easily spend a week in the southwestern part of South Dakota.
The trip has had its ups and downs. The sites have been amazing apart from having to skip some tours because we couldn't leave the dog in the car. The hotel experience has been difficult quite often as far as making reservations in advance where accomodations would accept a dog. Driving over 2500 miles from Atlanta to Boise on the route we chose has also been a strain on me physically. My back is pained and it's taken the last two days to rest and recuperate. At least I've got a few more days here to relax before I have to get in the car again with kids, luggage and dog to get to Las Vegas for four days to visit my mother and other family. When this adventure is over, I hope to have some lasting memories that are good enough to overshadow the frustrations.