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The Kelbaker Hills behind me are busy absorbing every last bit of colour they can get before calling it a day Today's Mojave National Preserve festival of pink, purple and orange is probably the best I've experienced on this tripThumbnailsThe pretty ceiling above the shower stall in tonight's room at the Royal Hawaiian invites me to step inside and get cleanToday's Mojave National Preserve festival of pink, purple and orange is probably the best I've experienced on this tripThumbnailsThe pretty ceiling above the shower stall in tonight's room at the Royal Hawaiian invites me to step inside and get cleanToday's Mojave National Preserve festival of pink, purple and orange is probably the best I've experienced on this tripThumbnailsThe pretty ceiling above the shower stall in tonight's room at the Royal Hawaiian invites me to step inside and get cleanToday's Mojave National Preserve festival of pink, purple and orange is probably the best I've experienced on this tripThumbnailsThe pretty ceiling above the shower stall in tonight's room at the Royal Hawaiian invites me to step inside and get cleanToday's Mojave National Preserve festival of pink, purple and orange is probably the best I've experienced on this tripThumbnailsThe pretty ceiling above the shower stall in tonight's room at the Royal Hawaiian invites me to step inside and get clean

I accept the verdict, put my camera away and turn on my headlight for the final few miles into Baker. Baker is abuzz with people pulling in off the freeway, even on New Year's Eve.

I check in at the Royal Hawaiian Motel for an exciting New Year's Eve, a warm sleep, and a shower before taking the Amtrak bus and train back to San José tomorrow.

After I settle in, I walk up the road to Los Dos Toritos for a filling home-cooked Mexican meal. There I meet the Park Service guy who was working at Kelso Depot a few days ago when I arrived there to buy batteries, fill up on water and get campsite suggestions. Small world! We have an interesting chat while he waits for his take-out order.