The Road Trip: Part 2

Devin Gill
4 min readDec 31, 2021


You’re here. This is great.

It’s Devin again, hey friends.

If you’re joining me for the first time, I recommend checking out the first part of this story, The Road Trip: Part 1.

If you‘re back for more, I assume you already cleaned your house, called everyone you could think of, took a nap, binge-watched every series on Netflix, and ultimately had nothing better to do or you’re my mom (Hey Ma). Regardless, thanks for joining me.

Quick recap for those unmotivated to read Part 1:

  1. Decided to camp in southern Utah
  2. Beautiful sand dunes
  3. Bing (my dog) tried eating sand
  4. Decided on spontaneous trip to California to continue the adventure
Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Ok, so that’s where we left off, in Kanab, Utah.

Lord Google provided me with directions.

  • South through Arizona, through the Kaibab Reservation
  • Back north through Hurricane and St. George, Utah
  • To Las Vegas, Turned south
  • Through the Mojave National Preserve
  • Avoided Joshua Tree (because I thought I may need to pay).
  • Drove south towards the Salton Sea where it smelled pretty bad
  • Turned west
  • Through Borrego Springs, Ca (This was an interesting little oasis town with palm trees, desert, and some nice stores and restaurants).

One interesting part about driving alone (or with a dog) for long periods of time is that it provides you with plenty of time to reflect. To confront those emotional demons.

This is clearly not me, but nice car

Although this trip may have been better with a friend or someone who can speak (sorry Bing), alone time is essential. I’ve come to recognize the benefits of sitting alone with my emotions. Not ignoring them, but feeling them and acknowledging them. It’s easy to ignore your emotions, but if you make a concerted effort to process your emotions, past and present, you’ll feel better. A simple concept, but many don’t learn it and it’s easily and unfortunately forgotten.

After driving nearly 8.5 hours, I made it to the Anza-Borrego State Park Campground… which was full. There was nowhere to camp, so that was great (sarcasm).

I drove around, asked people sitting by their campers, RVs, and tents if they saw any open spots or knew of any place to camp to no avail.

I couldn’t find anything…

I thought I would need to stay in a motel, but because it was so late and I didn’t want to spend money, I decided to sleep in my car. Not the ideal situation, but unplanned adventures tend to have unplanned roadblocks. Flexibility is key.

After driving all day, smelling of sweat, campfire, and dog, and needing to sleep in the car, I was a bit grumpy and on edge.

The moon was out and the abundance of stars were glowing softly. I cracked the windows, and two things happened.

First, the air smelled sweet. Unbelievably sweet. Like a flower and honey explosion.

Second, there were frogs that were chirping softly. Not loud, obnoxious croaks, but perfect background chirps to help me sleep (link to said frogs chirping in Anza-Borrego).

The coyotes followed us again, but Bing and I, already accustomed to sleeping in the car to avoid them, slept well… at least until about 5:00 am when we left to avoid paying for sleeping in the campground (oops).

I didn’t really know where I was going next. I contemplated driving back to Salt Lake City. But I had already come this far. Neither the coyotes, nor the lack of sleep had stopped me yet. So, Bing and I left Anza-Borrego State Park and headed west.

After getting through the mountains, I stopped at a gas station. Coyotes howled again. Seriously though, I must have done something to offend the coyote spirits because they follow me everywhere.

But seriously…

I had it in my mind that I was going to drive north until I reached the Redwoods (a 13 hour drive). However, I was talking to a friend who was attending the University of California in Merced. He convinced me to come up and visit him, so I changed course and headed towards the valley.

Roughly eight hours later, Bing and I arrived at my friend’s house. I was exhausted. After some food, a shower, and some light conversation, I called it an early night.

The next day, I relaxed and caught up with my friend. The day off from driving was much needed for me and Bing. My friend and I made a plan to go camping in Mt. Tamalpais State Park at the Pantoll Campground just north of San Francisco.

After chugging coffee and packing up, we left for the coast.

The story continues with The Road Trip: Part 3, where I make questionable decisions and (you guessed it) drive more.