I wake up early using my cell phone as an alarm. I rarely use the cell phone, so I'm happy that it can be more useful. 7h is early enough that I should have plenty of time to take a long shower, pack my bags and have a leisurely breakfast at a neighbourhood restaurant.
An open door to an abandoned room at The Royal Hawaiian Motel waits for me to enter.
Two birds are frolicking in the swimming pool outside the patio door. I can't help but laugh. This is much quieter than having an extended family out there yelling and screaming, like yesterday!
Breakfast is a generous plate of huevos a la mexicana at Los Dos Toritos just up the road. I'm not all sweaty, stinky and homeless-looking like I was the last time I came here, so the waitress this morning doesn't ask me to pay before I eat.
After I'm finished, I can't resist the temptation of following up with a couple of Greek pastries from the Mad Greek.
They taste good, but are too sweet. I really did not need these, even though I thought I did. This is the first sign that my insatiable post-trip hunger will eventually disappear—but not today. I don't regularly weigh myself, but I know just by how I feel that I've lost a few pounds during this trip.
There is still furniture to use in this abandoned room at The Royal Hawaiian Motel, if you want!
I walk back to my room. I have a little extra time, so I walk around the abandoned part of the motel complex. There are a couple of broken windows and the door to one room is wide open. If this were in my ghetto neighbourhood of homeless drunks in downtown San José, these abandoned rooms would all be happily occupied by many squatters by now.
I step into the open room and find that there is still left-over furniture inside. The vaulted wood ceilings are still in excellent shape and the tacky paintings of palm trees on the walls look fairly recent.
It doesn't look like it would take much to make these units habitable again, and it doesn't look like it has been many years since they were last used.
Back to my room, I have business to do and a bus to catch. I pack up my bags really slowly, wishing that my trip wouldn't be ending now. But life must go on. At least I don't have to roll up and pack a tent this morning!
Paintings on the wall in an abandoned room at The Royal Hawaiian Motel in Baker, California
Finally all ready to go, I roll my bike out of the motel room and begin the 3/4 mile ride up the road to the Amtrak bus stop across from the Carl's Jr. (I've never eaten at a Carl's Jr. restaurant.)
On the way, I stop to take my turn at Baker's four-way stop at the corner of Kelbaker Road. Some road work is being done there. While I'm stopped, I hear one of the workers shout over to another, "there's that bicyclist that we saw last week over on Cima Road."
So I pull over and chat with him for a few moments. I tell him what I'm doing (no, I'm not homeless) and that I'm leaving now. He laughs and says that he's surprised I'm still alive after two weeks of bike-camping out here.
I laugh too because summer heat is definitely beginning to set in and it has been tougher on me the last few days than when I started the trip. I remind him that his work is much tougher than mine, and I frankly don't know how he does it.
The 10-ton bike waits for the Amtrak bus to arrive at the bus stop on Baker Blvd. in front of a gas station that I don't need today
It's already in the high 80s this morning and he's dressed in full construction clothing plus a safety vest. He's actually working in this heat with all that clothing on, and doesn't appear to be sweating at all. It's amazing how we humans sometimes adapt to our conditions fairly quickly.
I continue my short trek up the road to the Amtrak bus stop, which is located in front of a gas station. Of course, I don't need any gas today, and am happy about that, given the price of it these days.
I'm early and the bus is a little late, so I find myself standing here alone with the 10-ton bike for 3/4 hour, hiding behind the lamppost to get some slight shade from the already hot sun.
The bus pulls up and two drivers get out. One asks me, "You're not here for Amtrak, are you?"
But of course I am here for Amtrak, so I quickly remove my big saddlebags and sleeping bag, and they go into the storage bins under the bus along with my bike. I bring my two smaller front saddlebags and helmet on the bus with me as carry-on baggage.