There is an exception to the rule that gas stations are bad places to clean up, and that is a truck stop. These were never on my radar until recently, and tonight was my first time using one for a shower. One thing you'll find is that you don't have to find all the possible solutions to your problems. You'll find solutions that work, get a routine going and look no further. When you do that, you're home. You aren't homeless anymore. You've found your comfort zone. Tonight though, for the sake of research, for you, I put my body, and my pocket money, on the line.
There are certain franchises that have set up specifically to cater to the needs of truckers. They've got phones and phone cards, internet connections, special fueling areas, attached fast food restaurants, trip insurance, video game arcades, snacks, ephedra supplements (legal, though dangerous, stimulants), and most importantly showers. One of these chains is Pilot. I'm sure there are others, depending on where you are in the country. They space themselves out about every 100 miles, and all the truckers know where to find them. There are even maps that list their locations, available on their website and I'm told, predictably, at truck stops.
For seven bucks tonight, at my local Pilot, I got a key to a small room, number six in a hall filled with eight or ten identical stalls, and one larger stall set up to accommodate the disabled. Well lit, the rooms have a beautiful mirror and sink, a toilet, an oscillating fan, hooks to hang clothes on, and a shower stall. Conveniences include a fresh towel, a washcloth, a paper bath mat (one is tempted to ask why), some of those tiny soaps you might find in a motel, a built in place to sit down, and plenty of hot water. After each shower a maintenance crew cleans the stalls and sets out fresh towels and soap. I brought my own shampoo, and used that instead of the soap, because frankly, soap is just nasty.
The place was identical to a good motel room without the bed and t.v. For seven bucks, I have no complaints. It's too much money to use daily, but for that time when you haven't got a gym membership, if you have a local truck stop, this beats a day pass to the gym. Private, safe, and clean, this is a five star solution to the problem of getting clean. Treat yourself sometimes. A good shower can change your whole outlook on living.
Bonus! Reader Tip