The Road Trip: Part 3

Devin Gill
4 min readJan 1, 2022

This must be a mistake.

Are you sure you clicked on the right article?

Well, even if you didn’t, welcome. Thanks for joining.

Just in case you didn’t know, this is my dog, Bing. He’s pretty photogenic

Devin here. Just writing about my outdoors adventures. If you’ve come here for something unique, something that inspires the human spirit to continue forward, something that warms your heart and challenges your mind….my stories are not the right place for that.

If you’re here, you’re most likely either A) my mother (hey ma); or B) researching narcissism of white, millennial, males.

As you may have read in the title, this is the third installment of The Road Trip series. If you like continuity and for things to make sense, I recommend reading Part 1 and Part 2.

If you don’t want to lose 10 minutes of your life that you’ll never get back, here’s the TLDR:

  • Went camping in southern Utah, Bing (my dog) and I played in some sand
  • Decided to make an adventure out of it and drove to Anza-Borrego State Park in California (it smelled great)
  • Met an old friend in Merced, California and had a much needed rest day (I smelled bad)
  • Left for a final night of camping in Mt. Tamalpais State Park

And that’s where we left off.

I didn’t really know what to expect with this leg of the journey. I saw one or two pictures of the campground. There were some big trees. A bathroom. Seemed pretty neat.

After driving about three hours, we were close. My expectations, although few, were exceeded. The area was beautiful.

Not actually Mt. Tamalpais

There were more and more trees, that got bigger and bigger as we neared the Pantoll campground. Growing up in the farmlands of Illinois does not prepare one for the real life experience of driving through… well anything that isn’t flat land.

It was unreal.

After some searching, we found a campsite to claim and set up our tents. Huge, old trees were everywhere. And the coast was a short walk away.

Now, as some of you may or may not know, I was working on my Ph.D. in Cognitive Neural Psychology. My friend was also working on his Ph.D. This fact should not persuade you that an ounce of intelligence was shared between us.

My friend, Bing, and I walked the trail to watch the sunset on the coast. It was a switchback trail and, in the moment, seemed unnecessary. A more direct route presented itself to us. Straight down.

It was steep, and I was wearing sandals.

I slipped. Of course I did.

I tumbled, head over heels, for a good 20 feet before I somehow was able to plant my feet and slide to a stop.

My friend stared at me in disbelief. His jaw dropped. Actually, his face was priceless. After getting back to the trail with only a few cuts and scrapes, we laughed.

We made it to the coast. It was cloudy and you couldn’t see much of anything, but it did look pretty. We left before it got too dark (to avoid more slips), set up a fire, and relaxed.

My friend’s partner (and newly minted wife, congrats again bro beans), made the trip to join us, so we had some extra company. We had a few drinks, I played the ukulele, and we bullshitted about stupid stuff that only people in academia find interesting. Finally, we climbed in our tents and got some sleep.

The next morning, we walked the treacherous trail (not actually treacherous) back to the coast to see the sunrise. When we got there, a thick layer of clouds was covering the water, just up to the edge of the cliffs. As the sun started to rise and warm the air, the clouds slowly rose over the cliffs and moved inland.

Dipsea Trail

To this date, this was the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. I hope I can find something that gets close, but I’m doubtful. I was in complete awe. This was perfection.

Bing chillin hard

We sat and watched as the sun rose and the clouds melted away. Bing was at a level of chill that I had never seen before. He’s a blue heeler and border collie mix, he doesn’t chill too often.

We slowly walked back.

After packing our gear, we said our goodbyes, and headed out.

My adventure was nearing its end. I just had to drive 12 hours from the Pacific coast back to Salt Lake City. No biggie.

Now, some of you may say, “This seems like a great place to stop your story. Look how cute Bing is. Why would you ruin an ending like that?” I almost agree. But, there’s a few more things that I think you’ll want to hear about. Specifically, a chance meeting in the middle of nowhere in Nevada.

The adventure continues with The Road Trip: Part 4