Shower Problems: I Am Not A Mogwai
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Shower Me in Water. Please!
Long before arriving, I knew there was no Planet Fitness in Flagstaff. Still, I didn’t foresee getting a regular shower as a huge obstacle. I research everything, so I knew about the YMCA via YouTube videos and vandweller/nomad forums.
I also asked friends who’ve spent lots of time here. They confirmed the YMCA offered showers for $2. A much cheaper option than joining Anytime Fitness and adding an extra $40 (that I don’t have to spare) to my monthly budget.
Tuesday morning, soon after waking up, I called the Flagstaff Family YMCA. I spoke to a young woman ‘Alice’ (not her real name) who was quite gracious and assured me showering was no issue.
I explained I was ‘camping/RVing’ in and around Flagstaff for the next three months. A shower would be ideal a couple of times a week and I didn’t mind a small fee. “No problem” she assured, “just come on in and we’ll be happy to get you a shower when you need it, no fees. Just tell them at the front desk what you’ve told me and you’ll be fine.”
I gathered my shower supplies, fresh clothes, and towel then set out for the YMCA. I expected Alice was wrong about the fees, but I didn’t expect how wrong she actually was.
An Unexpected Inconvenience
With a big presumptuous smile planted on my face, I entered the YMCA and began to explain to the young man at the front desk what I needed.
Not long after I mentioned needing a shower, I saw his face pinch and his eyes dart side to side as if he was looking for help. Something was clearly wrong so I did not mention ‘Alice’ saying it would be free, opting instead to let him tell me the fee.
Once I finished speaking, the young man began: “So… uhm… The only way to take a shower is by paying $10 for a day pass. Sorry.”
I calmly explained I knew others who had come there for a shower and paid just $2. I also revealed the conversation I had with Alice earlier this morning.
“I’m sorry, Alice is new and didn’t know. A $10 day pass is required to shower.” he pointed out again. I just stood there for a moment, trying to decide what to do. After an awkward moment of silence, he offered me a free shower as a courtesy.
I felt weird and uncomfortable accepting his offer, so I left.
I can’t tell you why (actually I can, it was clearly my ego), but I felt defeated, embarrassed, and really anxious. I even had a brief stress cry.
To add insult to my ego injury, the road leading to the YMCA was under construction and my GPS didn’t get the memo. I ended up driving in circles for 15 minutes.
My brain was too stressed to rationalize how to get where I wanted to go next, so I just started doing the opposite of what the GPS instructed. 🙄
I ended up on North Pine Cliff Drive, turning right onto East Forest Avenue. As I turned and began to accelerate up the hill, I noticed the car in front of me had come to a stop in the middle of the road. I didn’t know why at first, so I slowed down as I approached.
Then I saw them. At least 8 teenage deer slowly galloping across the 4 lane road, cars stopped in both directions to accommodate their journey. It was a magical sight.
I’ve seen deer before. I’ve even seen a two or three together. But to see this many, so casually sprinting across the road, was kind of marvelous.
It’s like the universe was saying ‘screw your shower, I have these deer to share with you’! It definitely turned my anxiety into a happy smile and lifted my spirits better than anything else could have.
Conversation With The YMCA
In the interest of fairness (since I knew I would be writing about my experience here), I decided to speak to the YMCA management the next afternoon. I wanted to make sure I was sharing the correct information with anyone who might read this blog post.
The director expressed concern over the itinerant and transient nature of people (not unlike me) ‘just passing through’ Flagstaff and the area’s popularity as a travel destination. As a result, before the new policy, they were getting a lot of “shower only” traffic. It was particularly impactful as their locker room is not very big.
He explained the shower situation was beginning to interfere with the ability of members to use the facilities. This decision was viewed as a way to make members happy, while still proving the shower option to those passing through. He understood it wasn’t an ideal solution for everyone, but he felt it was the best solution for this facility.
I feel this policy goes against what I always believed the YMCA stood for. That's just my opinion though.
What About That Shower Though?
My Adventure VanMan inspired Shower.
In town, there is a truck stop that has $12 showers. I indulged Wednesday morning and it was pretty nice. The room was large, there was a shower, a huge tub, a toilet, and a sink with plenty of counter space. You’re given soap, shampoo/conditioner, 2 towels and a washcloth. There was also a heavy cotton mat already on the floor in the shower room.
Here’s a video I recorded if you’re inclined to listen to 4 minutes of my repetitive rambling and heavy breathing. lol
I’m not inclined to spend $12 on a shower very often, but when I’m feeling the urge to splurge, this will be my first stop.
I can still go to the YMCA for a shower and a have workout for a $10 day pass, and who knows, depending on the day I just might. It’s nice to have options.
Remote Boondocking Shower
When I’m remote camping I’ll use the shower sprayer I put together while I was in Quartzsite in January. Perhaps I’ll go all in and buy a cheap inexpensive pop-up tent like this one. Until then I can wash my hair and take mini sponge baths in the van. TMI? Hahaha. 😛
If you’re interested in making a shower like mine, these are the items I purchased to make my shower system: (my bug sprayer was purchased at Home Depot but they’re all similar).
*A Special Thank You
Shout out to Jill Prescott. She spent time with me by phone Wednesday evening, performing a very meditative energy clearing. The purpose was to move the emotional trauma (relating to the accident) out of my body. It was profound and effective. Thank you for recognizing my need Jill, and even more for helping me (successfully) work through it.