Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Art of Showering While RVing

You have to be very careful when taking a shower while traveling in an RV. For one thing, you can't just take a long, hot steamy shower in your trailer, RV, or bus. The hot water tank is minuscule and your shower will turn cold quickly, particularly if husband has taken a shower first. Long showers are not possible either, because the holding tank will fill up. There are two holding tanks on an RV - one is called the "gray water tank" which holds water from the sinks and shower, and the other is called the "brown water tank" which holds water from - well, I think you can figure that one out. The procedure for taking a shower in an RV goes something like this:

1. Turn water on and wait until it is lukewarm
2. Spray water all over body
3. Turn water off
4. Lather entire body with soap
5. Turn water on and wait until it is lukewarm
6. Rinse off entire body
7. Turn water off

The water is turned on and off more frequently if it happens to be wash-your-hair day.

This is why it is very exciting when RVers pull into a trailer park for the night. You can actually pad down to the shower building with your flip flops, towel, and bag of clean underwear and use the campground facilities. I have encountered some very interesting showers in my travels.

Closet Shower: This shower is the size of a small Kenmore refrigerator box. The shower head is permanently positioned to spray on the top of your head, and since there isn't any room to move around, it is nearly impossible to work up a good lather to wash your hair. And you have to end the shower prematurely in the event you drop your soap.

Buggy Shower: This shower is inhabited by an assortment of unusual insects, depending on which humid Midwestern state you are visiting. Residents could include Daddy Long Legs, June Bugs, and spiders. One will not linger in this bathroom for fear the audience will begin to creep down the wall into your space.

Shooting Fountain Shower: This one is tricky because the water shoots outside the shower curtain into the changing area. It's a good thing the proprietors had the foresight to put a drain next to the changing bench.

Peeping Tom Shower: This shower is not for the modest. The shower door is hung about a foot too short. Either they ran out of wood while building the facility, or they didn't think people taller than 4 feet like to keep clean. You have a choice here; forget the shower for the night and put up with the smell, or take a record-setting shower, praying no one walks by and peeps over the door.

Balancing Soap Act Shower: It's amazing what people do to cut costs when building showers. This particular stall had no soap dish. Hmmmm, a quick look around suggested either placing the soap on the floor of the shower - which could be dangerous, depending on how lithe you are on your feet - or balance the edge of the soap on the 1/4 inch handle that stuck out of the wall. Either way, visions of feet above head with buttocks on the shower stall floor came to mind.

Buddy Shower: You have to really like the people who decide to shower the same time as you because the set up for this facility is like a locker room. There are 4 shower stalls surrounding a common area where there is one bench and 3 hooks on the wall for your clothes. I made sure I locked the main door when I went into this shower building.

Push Button Shower: It took me awhile to figure this one out. There is no handle to turn the water on - instead there is a button on the wall. Aha - you push the button and out comes the water. And just when you have lathered up, the water shuts off. Then you push the button again. I suppose it is for water conservation, but most people would just keep pushing the button - so I'm not sure how much water is really saved.

And my personal favorite...

Pay Showers: The first time I encountered one of these, it took me by surprise. I padded down the line of trailers to the shower room, closed and bolted the door, got my soap, shampoo, and conditioner in place, set my clean clothes out on the little bench, hung my towel in a handy location for a quick grab, stepped into the shower, and discovered there was no handle to turn the water on and no button to push. Peeking out of the shower curtain, I saw what looked like a gum ball machine attached to the wall. Damn, I have to PAY for my shower. OK. Step out of the shower, put clothes back on, pack up soap, shampoo, conditioner, clean clothes, and towel and pad back down the line of trailers to get a few quarters. One quarter equals 5 minutes of water. I actually got pretty good at taking quick showers. Unless, of course, you have to let the cold water run before it gets hot. That will take extra quarters.

One time in Wisconsin, husband and I drove down to the showers for a nice, long hot shower. Uh oh, a gum ball machine on the wall. Not to worry, I have come prepared with quarters. I was all ready to step into the shower and inserted the first quarter. The knob twirled around, but the water didn't come out. I could hear ticking, so I knew my 5 minutes had started - yet, no water. Dang it, just wasted a quarter. Ok, I can do this. I inserted another quarter, turned the knob, and went to work. I was lathered up nicely when the water all of a sudden shut off. I stood there in shock. That was my last quarter. I listened for any other bathers to see if I could bum a quarter - crickets - silence. Vanity went down the drain with the last drop of water, and I stepped out of the stall, slid my clothes on over the soap, and with shampoo dripping on my shirt, went to look for husband. I didn't explain...he just stared...and I begged for more quarters. Back I went to fight with the gum ball machine and finish my shower.

Balancing soap, counting quarters, ducking fountains of water, and ignoring critters (both 2-legged and 6-legged) all prove that there is definitely an art to showering.

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