The Summer Trip

May 16th was our two year anniversary! We planned to take a road trip to southern California and sleep in our car for about four days. In the weeks leading up to leaving, we found and ordered what we thought we’d need (car tent, power supply, air mattress, cooler, gas stove, etc.) and then took off hoping for the best. It was an incredible trip that we’ll remember for long time – and things went surprisingly well.

The Route

  • (Wednesday) Phoenix to Santa Barbara
  • (Thursday) Malibu, Laguna Beach, Ventura
  • (Friday) Oceanside, Encinitas, Del Mar, La Jolla
  • (Saturday) La Jolla, San Diego
  • (Sunday) Phoenix

The Ride

I found a Hasika “Tailgate Shade Awning Tent” on Amazon for about $80 which made sleeping in the our Toyota Venza pretty pleasant. At night, we put a few of the larger items outside (cooler, beach chair) and laid our back seats down. This left enough room for an air matress, and when the back gate was up with the awning attached, I could completely stretch out. It was actually really fun.

The Food

We bought a two burner, propane camp stove from some friends so we could cook at the beach. We only ended up doing this a couple times, but it worked super well! We took a cooler and ate most of our meals from there. We figured we ate out about five times in five days. Between sleeping in the car and taking our own food, we kept the expenses pretty low (except for gas – gas was high).

We ate at a great little place in Little Italy in downtown San Diego.

The Beach Towns

We’d been to Del Mar before and definitely want to return. This is such a great beach spot with both a nice town and a beautiful beach. The photo above of me with the grill is at Del Mar.

Aleisha and I agreed that Laguna Beach was the place we’d move if we were going to southern California – for sure a favorite. La Jolla also turned about to be a ton of fun (although finding a place to park for the night was really hard).

Before we left I bought a wetsuit. And a few years back, Aleisha and Luke bought me a surfboard. It was great to not have to rent anything anywhere we went. I did a lot of surfing. It made me realize though that west coast waves are harder than east coast waves, and I’m a bit out of practice.

Overall, we had a blast! It was kind of surprising how smoothly the whole trip went. We decided that next time we’ll plan ahead a bit more about where to park overnight as finding a place to sleep can be challenging. This was a lovely way to experience the coast of California.


The day we got back to Phoenix was the day my mom flew in with our new puppy, Teddy. We got him from my aunt Thersea who raises beautiful little dogs (Palmetto Upstate Puppies)! He is so far a great addition to the Bear family. Teddy sleeps well at night, mostly, and is very chill overall. He sometimes complains about having to go on walks. We love him.

In Other News

Aleisha is the program and intern Director at Aim Right Ministries and has recently also taken a job with City of Joy. They’re an incredible organization in Rwanda, and Aleisha manages their online store. I’m still working as an admissions counselor at Grand Canyon University where I’m also in my third class towards being licensed as a mental health counselor.

Published by javenbear

Javen Bear is 25 years old and lives with his beautiful wife Aleisha in Phoenix, Arizona. He's a graduate student in a mental health counseling program at Grand Canyon University where he also works as an admissions representative. Javen’s super-power, if he had one, would be the ability to press pause on the world and catch up on reading. He enjoys talking walks with his wife, playing guitar, and always uses Oxford commas.

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