We leave the San Juan Inn after an early morning start for some (I get up early to catch the sunrise.) The drive out involves a novelty, the Valley of the Gods road, which turns out to be every bit as scenic as Monument Valley but for free and much more remote, with genuine dirt road. The $5 refusal is vindicated. A long leg then to Mesa Verde National Park via Cortez (OK, if a bit grim) and past Ute Mt casino. The weather is magnificent and we arrive at Mesa Verde in time to wend our way along the 20 mile drive to the Spruce Point cliff dwellings, rising through the snowline (deep remnants) to the top of the mesa. The views are incredible - in my van Holly never stops snapping. The visit to the dwellings is conducted, but is done well. and includes a descent into a Kiva - shafts of light. We then drive the 20 miles out of the park to the unknown quantity of Mancos and the motel, both of which turn out to be fine. Mancos is a nice little ranching town with an old brick centre and enough facilities to get by, while the motel is clean, comfortable and has HD TV. A content crew. Tomorrow to Window Rock.