The Road Trip: Part 4

Devin Gill
4 min readJan 4, 2022

So, let’s not make this awkward. If you’re here out of pity, thank you. If you are my mom, hey ma. If you are both here out of pity and my mom, thanks, hey ma, and this is awkward.

If you have nothing better to do right now, I hope you’ll read the finale in this riveting and heartfelt four part series, The Road Trip. It’s not actually riveting or heartfelt, but why not take some creative liberties.

For those who have not read Parts 1–3 of this series, here is a brief review of what’s happened so far (and now that I think of it, I probably could have written this entire story in the form of bullet points to save everyone time).

  • Devin and Bing (the dog) go camping in Southern Utah (there are coyotes)
  • Devin and Bing decide to drive to Anza-Borrego State Park in Southern California where they sleep in the car (more coyotes)
  • Devin and Bing decide to drive to Merced, California to meet with a friend (no coyotes)
  • Devin, Bing, and friend drive to Mount Tamalpais State Park to go camping (yep, coyotes)
  • Note: Do not attempt shortcuts while wearing sandals, you’ve been warned
  • Best Sunrise ever

Seems pretty underwhelming boiled down like that…. huh.

Anyways, as promised, this is the end of the series. The drive back from the Pacific coast to Salt Lake city was mostly uneventful.

I really didn’t want the adventure to stop. I felt like I could keep going for weeks. I started getting that Sunday feeling, like when you know the weekend is over and there’s nothing you can do about it and you feel sad or nostalgic for the weekend even though it is still the weekend.

A shower and my bed sounded pretty good though, so onward we went.

Although the adventure was coming to an end, I was not disappointed by this final leg of trip. Tahoe National Forest in the spring is amazing. There was still a lot of snowpack. All the trees and mountain sides were covered. And it was piled up high near the roads.

As I left California and passed into Nevada, the contrast was stark. Two completely different landscapes. One was lush, vibrant, and snowy, the other barren, rocky, and parched.

It turns out, when you’re ending a road trip, the last leg of the journey feels like the longest. At some point, after driving for anywhere between 2 and 32 hours (or what felt like 32 hours), I made a stop at a gas station.

This gas station was located in a very small town called Puckerbrush with a population of 28. Yes, you read that correctly, population 28. But such a nice gas station. And Bing and I were both happy for the break.

After filling up my car, I ran inside to grab a snack and use the bathroom. As I was leaving the gas station, I saw someone who looked familiar.

I shit you not, I saw Frankie Muniz, AKA Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle, in the middle of nowhere in Puckerbrush, Nevada.

Did I double-take? Yes. Did I slowly make my way to my car for a possible encounter? Yes. Did I blank on his real name and say “Are you Malcolm?”… Yes.

Turns out he was managing a band and they were touring. They were on their way from Salt Lake City to Reno, Nevada.

I wished him good luck and said good bye. Bing and I left Puckerbrush, NV, different, maybe better, than when we arrived, because we met Frankie Muniz.

From there, it was a battle. I’m accustomed to 12 hour drives, but such a sustained period of time on the road, sleeping in tents, and eating road food was taking its toll. I was definitely getting tired.

Not bad, right?

But after driving 34 hours and traveling 2150 miles in 5 days, Bing and I finally made it home.

So, what does this all mean? Why should you care? Well first of all, Frankie Muniz.

Second, spontaneity can be a really great thing in your life. It can take you to places you never imagined, you can meet really interesting people, and make unforgettable memories.

Spontaneity is tricky though. You have to be prepared for things to go wrong. You have to be adaptive. And most importantly, you have to approach it was a mindset of growth. Our ability to contend with failure and success is crucial for everything, and I would suggest that spontaneity is a good practice in accepting what happens.

Ok, wait, was I just insightful?

Or maybe just stating the obvious. Did you all know this already?

Anyways, thanks for reading.

Let me know what you think and if I should stop writing while I’m ahead (I earned $.06 during the month of December!).