San Diego is not a liberty port

San Diego is not a liberty port

San Diego is not a liberty port. In the Navy, liberty is something you can have (get to go on) after you get all your work done. When in a liberty port, you get to leave the ship. The term is used in a sentence such as “Did you enjoy liberty?” Of course, this question would rarely be asked in the Navy, first because the answer is obvious (everyone enjoys liberty) and because others (usually) don’t care enough to ask.

Off duty

In the Army or Air Force, they would say “off duty”. The term “off work” might be a civilian equivalent. In the Navy, free time is hard to come by and of course, it rarely occurs when you are at sea. “Shore leave” is when you have some free time and leave the ship. In the Navy, this is expressed by the term “Liberty Call”. This means that work is complete and sailors may now depart the ship. “Liberty expires at (followed by a time)” is when liberty is over. When liberty expires, the sailors who were on liberty are required to be back aboard the ship — presumably ready for work.


Historically navies have had a hard time getting sailors (typically conscripts, who were little more than slaves) to return from shore leave at the end of liberty. So ships would designate some ports as liberty ports and others as working ports. At working ports, liberty was not granted, and thus there wouldn’t be any problem with the conscripts not returning.

Every day is Saturday

A couple of friends we met last winter describe themselves as always being on liberty. So far in our RV life, we have yet to achieve that. However, I do frequently say that every day is Saturday. It is not a weekday because weekdays are workdays and it is not Sunday because on Sunday tomorrow is Monday and you have to go back to work on Monday. Every day is Saturday.

Explaining is an apology

I am presenting this detail as an apology for my failure to present any fun details of our travels because, for us, San Diego is not a liberty port. We had plenty of fun in San Diego, and most importantly we got to see some of our friends, whom we so miss while traveling. We also did some work including cleaning out our mini-storage.

Between Saint George, Utah, and San Diego we stopped in Las Vegas and had a wonderful time visiting family. Our last travel blog entry was Lakes, Mountains, and Desert written to describe our travel south from Idaho and through Utah. We went from fall with low nightly temperatures and all the leaves changing color to summer all in one day.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas was much different than when we departed last spring on the first 100-degree day of the year. It was still hot, but not summer hot, instead, it was just in the mid-nineties every day. Also, Las Vegas was in the process of a gradual re-opening after the spring 2020 COVID virus shutdown. When we left Las Vegas this spring, the casinos were closed and all the hotels were empty.

Lake Elsinore

We stopped at Lake Elsinore on the way to San Diego for one night to break up the drive a little bit with one night at the northwest side of the lake. In Lake Elsinore, we stayed in an RV “resort” that had seen its best days about sixty years prior to our arrival. It wasn’t bad, but given the size of our RV, we didn’t really fit into the parking spot. Here is the review of Lake Elsinore West Marina

Guajome Park

We departed Lake Elsinore early enough not to need the air conditioner on the way to San Diego. In fact, we departed too early. Guajome Park is one of the San Diego County Regional Parks that has RV campsites. Guajome is the last undeveloped part of Rancho Guajome, a historic land grant.

Guajome Park
Our RV at Guajome

Early departure from Lake Elsinore means early arrival at Guajome Park. At Guajome Park early arrival is not allowed. We had to make a lap through the campground, depart and come back an hour later. We arrived after check-out so our campsite was already empty, but at Guajome the no early arrivals rule is enforced. Here is the review of Guajome Park

FIRE in our Air Conditioner

As we crossed the Mojave Desert on our way to San Diego our rear air conditioner failed. The problem was a little fire, where there shouldn’t have been one. It is all better now. I have detailed this failure and repair in the Snippet: Troubleshooting our Air Conditioner. All is well now and all is fixed. The total cost of the repair was about two dollars. Fixing the Air Conditioner was the first task during our stop in San Diego.

Coleman Mach 8 Run Capacitor and Terminal Block
Coleman Mach 8 Run Capacitor and Terminal Block

Mini-Storage = Empty

The reason we chose Guajome is that it was the closest place for us to stay while we emptied our mini-storage in Carlsbad. It really is a nice place and it was very convenient for that purpose. It is also only about ten minutes from the Veterans Clinic where my doctor practices. We didn’t know it when I scheduled our stop in San Diego, but my location really didn’t matter for a doctor’s visit, because we did everything other than the lab work over the phone. I could have done the lab work at any VA clinic.

Dealing with stuff
Dealing with stuff

Emptying our mini-storage was lots of work. Some of it was physical, with just enough effort to make the muscles sore, but most of the work was emotional. The things we had in there were the last few items of our stationary lives. The value of most of the items was in the memories that these things represent. I go into more detail in the new post Dealing with stuff.

Liberty in San Diego

Every US Navy sailor knows that San Diego is not a liberty port. What I didn’t know, until I was at sea, is that Hawaii is also not a liberty port. What could be better than liberty in Hawaii? For the Navy, Hawaii is a stop to get fuel, food, and get out. Other ships need that berth (parking place) on the pier.

Sailors, one and all, find a way to fit a little liberty into every day, and every port, even if they were not “liberty ports”. We did the same thing while in San Diego. Even though we did all the working things, our best fun was seeing our friends and family while we were in town.


We are presently at our last stop in San Diego. We intended to depart today but San Diego is experiencing the first rainstorm of the winter season. The rain however isn’t the reason we are going to stay for an additional day. Here is our new review: Sweetwater Summit

We are going to stay an extra day in San Diego. The wind east of San Diego is really high with sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (nautical miles per hour) and gusts up to 70 mph.

When the wind is over water, the term is a strong gale (more navy stuff). Sustained seventy mph is a full gale. Hurricane wind speed starts at 74 mph. All are in the range of a small craft warning and both will create a very high sea state. Overland it is called a wind advisory. In an RV (and any high-profile vehicle, like semi-trailer) travel will be difficult and not recommended. Since we don’t have to go, we won’t.

Kicking Back

Perhaps this isn’t a navy term, but it is well understood and often used in the navy for liberty time. While in San Diego, in addition to kicking back, I figured I would also describe some of the stuff that was accomplished. While here, I have put out the multi-post answer to the question I occasionally get, which is something like “How do you find the places you stay?” So here is the introduction to the planning section on our website. Planning

The planning sub-section includes eight articles, including four new articles on the subject of planning. I typically start with a digital map described in RV Parky, then I jump to a website named Allstays to get an overview of locations and after that, I get some reviews at Campendium. Harvest Host and Passport America are discount camping locations (clubs) and are not always found in the other tools we use. In each article, I describe how we use each tool to put together a plan (not always a good plan, but a plan nonetheless).

As promised, while here I also filled in some more campsite reviews and bad roads for RVs posts, including the ones mentioned above. The newest bad road is Southbound Interstate 15 on Sunday Afternoon. Actually, this bad road applies to every vehicle, not just RVs, but you will have to read the post to find out why Southbound Interstate 15 is a bad road — unless you already know the reason.

San Diego is not a liberty port

So you can say that San Diego is not a liberty port, but that isn’t entirely correct. If your home port is in Florida and you visit San Diego then perhaps then San Diego could be a liberty port — after you get your work done. For us, in the future, San Diego will be a great liberty port, now that we got the work done.

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Just like the rest of the stuff on our blog, we hope that it helps you. We are so happy you find these articles worth your time.

Our review ofLake Elsinore West Marina

Our review of Guajome Park

Our review of Sweetwater Summit

Digital map RV Parky,

Campsite locators Allstays

Campsite reviews at Campendium

Campsite discount programs Harvest Host and Passport America

9 thoughts on “San Diego is not a liberty port”

  1. How in the world do you have time to be so organized?! Love reading this and when it’s not so late, I plan on digging deeper. Can’t wait to read your ‘Planning’ section .
    Thanks, Judy

    1. Planning is just a collection of posts all on the same subject with a few bunny trails to follow. Let me know if it is helpful or if you have any questions.


  2. I follow an RV couple on Instagram whose handle is “Always on Liberty” (maybe the same people you’re friends with??) and I never understood what their name meant. Thanks for the explanation. Makes a lot more sense now!

    It looks like we are, once again, going to just miss you guys. We are headed to SD at the end of this week – though we won’t actually arrive until next week. More bad timing, unfortunately.

    Glad to hear you got lots of necessities taken care of and your AC issue wasn’t terrible. I’ll have to go read about that next since you about gave me a heart attack when I saw the word “fire” in your post. 🙂

    Stay well!

    1. It was only a tiny fire and it was all over two days before I figured out what the problem was.

      I am bummed that we are going to miss connecting once again. We get so close and then just miss. I have noticed that we all move north together and all move south together. So as long as that is happening, our chances of getting together remain very high.


  3. Happy to hear from you two again* Since meeting you …2 seasons ago, OBI WAN (my aussie) and I covered the East Coast and into and around Florida. When the Pandemic hit and all parks began to close we spent weeks in SFWM locations boondocking… FREE. They also folded. Moved on into S. Georga.

    Lucky for OBI & I… we had met, Al and Dot and stayed in- their old fish camp on the Swannee River that year prior… that was the same year we met you two out West. In trade, I helped them around “the camp”… campground for a month, and then we began the trek back to the Traverse City area in MI.

    It has been quite the year, 2020. Never a moment to pause it seemed. NEW cargo trailer is being built at the mfr. in Elkhart Indiana. A story around this 2 years running. Possible special series of cargo’s soon to be released.

    We would ould like to cross your path again? Where will you be… what region this upcoming season?

    Glad you are well. Kaitland & OBI WAN KANOBI

    1. Last year, in the fall we headed west from Montana until we hit the Pacific Ocean.

      This winter we are starting in San Diego and heading east until we hit the Gulf of Mexico. In the spring, we will start moving north again. I promised Tami an all-new route this year.

      It is a simple plan with many stops along the way.


  4. Being at a fixed base does not always mean a “Liberty Port” also. Here in north/western Nevada we got 14+ inches of snow Sat. night. Spent Sun. AM blowing snow and clearing the driveway. It looks like it is going to stay cold for the next 15 days or so, 18 degs. right now.. The snow will not be going anywhere and more in on the way next week.
    Let us know your winter travel plans. We are not going to Nebraska for the holidays but may head to Texas.
    Safe Travels my friends, Joel

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