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Santa Fe to Mesa Verde Itinerary Help Needed

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We will be arriving at ABQ airport on Saturday, August 20th. We will have just had 10 days doing a loop from Las Vegas to Bryce, Zion and Grand Canyon. We arrive midday on Saturday and this was my original itinerary:
Sat - arrive midday and drive to Durango (about 4 hours)
Sun - Mesa Verde - we have reservations at Far View Lodge
Mon - Mesa Verde - spend night in Durango
Tue - daytrip to Silverton via train - night in Durango
Wed - drive to Taos - night in Taos
Thur - Scenic drive to Santa Fe
Fri & Sat - Santa Fe
Sun - fly home

However, now my traveling companion finds she needs to come home on Saturday and her flight is at 7 am.

So - my questions - what do we cut out? I guess the train trip to Silverton and also the last night in Santa Fe, spending the last night in Albuquerque near the airport. Can anyone see any other options?

What is the drive from Durango to Taos like? There is an option to take a shorter version of the train trip (bus back) which would mean we were back in Durango by 4pm. I was wondering if we could drive to Taos then or if that would be too much for one day.

Are two full days in Mesa Verde a good idea, or might we be ready to leave by mid day on the second day? That might mean we could overnight somewhere other than Durango that night.

If we gave up the train to Silverton, is there a drive that would take less time that we could do to give us a taste of the Colorado mountains and still let us get from Durango to Taos in one reasonably long day?

Thanks for your thoughts.

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