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Old 06-25-2009, 08:37 AM   #21
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"Truck stop" type places for sure. A little gritty, but most around here are not bad places (at least during the day). Relatively clean showers but bring your flip flops and don't drop the soap. Grab a greasy cup and enjoy some delish stale coffee with a thick film of whatever's cooking on the griddle.

Also, our local city community centers have small gyms in them with showers. It used to be $1 for a day pass at the community center gym, now maybe $2. Our city pools are similar - $2-3 for non-residents for a day pass. All you can swim and shower.

The awesome thing to do would be to rig up a portable shower that you can hang off the side of your van. That should be a simple task in light of your mad antenna building skillz.

Also check into "couch surfing" (google it). There are a bunch of websites and online communities that facilitate you finding a place to sleep on people's couches (or guest beds) and presumably a shower as well.

Throw a tent in the van with you, and you can do some impromptu camping wherever. I know there are many state and federal lands that allow "wilderness camping" with no facilities but no fees. Some request that you check in w/ the ranger's station beforehand just to let them know you'll be there, but a simple phone call or email will suffice.

Sounds like a fun trip. PM me the blog/photog link when you hit the road!
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:05 AM   #22
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I'll second the YMCA membership. There's kind of an unwritten rule that if you have a current YMCA card that ANY YMCA will let ya use their surfaces. Heck, you can get in a workout if ya want.

WalMarts let you stay overnight for free. Just tell the manager your plans and make sure you are far away from where most of the customers park. 24 hour Walmarts are common nowadays so that's another plus.

Bring a tent and 1-2 air mattresses. A BATTERY-POWERED Coleman lantern is almost a must, no KEROSENE........

I did a couple of the trips you are describing as a young man. We had a blast, some crazt times. We even found a few laundromats that had a bar next door to them.........

Keep us posted........
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:19 AM   #23
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FUEGO, definitely will get you the blog link when I head out. If I do it, I actually hope to get myself arrested or something neat like that.

Nice idea, cause most rest stops have water available. I could fill a gallon milk container and screw a shower head onto it and get someone to hold it over my head while I shower. Nice "outside-the-box" thinking.

Last time I was in a truck stop was after a Led Zeppelin concert back in the 70's. I ordered pancakes and coffee at 3AM and they tasted like meatloaf only better.

And maybe I can find a tent that can be used as a shower enclosure.

Good things to consider. Thanks, hope the rellie gets to Cambodia and back, is he from the Damdonebroke town.





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Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
"Truck stop" type places for sure. A little gritty, but most around here are not bad places (at least during the day). Relatively clean showers but bring your flip flops and don't drop the soap. Grab a greasy cup and enjoy some delish stale coffee with a thick film of whatever's cooking on the griddle.

Also, our local city community centers have small gyms in them with showers. It used to be $1 for a day pass at the community center gym, now maybe $2. Our city pools are similar - $2-3 for non-residents for a day pass. All you can swim and shower.

The awesome thing to do would be to rig up a portable shower that you can hang off the side of your van. That should be a simple task in light of your mad antenna building skillz.

Also check into "couch surfing" (google it). There are a bunch of websites and online communities that facilitate you finding a place to sleep on people's couches (or guest beds) and presumably a shower as well.

Throw a tent in the van with you, and you can do some impromptu camping wherever. I know there are many state and federal lands that allow "wilderness camping" with no facilities but no fees. Some request that you check in w/ the ranger's station beforehand just to let them know you'll be there, but a simple phone call or email will suffice.

Sounds like a fun trip. PM me the blog/photog link when you hit the road!
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:02 AM   #24
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FD, if ole Jack was still around I think he'd appreciate hitching this ride.

I did one as a young guy and that piece of freedom haunts my memories sometimes. There was a feeling that me and my bud had escaped something. On the lam, no bloody copper gonna take us alive, and the memories are too much fun to recall very often. Best remembered in small measures.

Dixonge, that is a good site (How To Stay Clean). Some of the ideas I already use.

Oh, if you ever go into a drugstore for baby wipes, there is a product in that section that is for babies and it's hilarious. Boudreaux's

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I'll second the YMCA membership. There's kind of an unwritten rule that if you have a current YMCA card that ANY YMCA will let ya use their surfaces. Heck, you can get in a workout if ya want.

WalMarts let you stay overnight for free. Just tell the manager your plans and make sure you are far away from where most of the customers park. 24 hour Walmarts are common nowadays so that's another plus.

Bring a tent and 1-2 air mattresses. A BATTERY-POWERED Coleman lantern is almost a must, no KEROSENE........

I did a couple of the trips you are describing as a young man. We had a blast, some crazt times. We even found a few laundromats that had a bar next door to them.........

Keep us posted........
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:06 AM   #25
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I can speak from recent experience on this one -- we just got back from our camping trip from California to St. Louis and back.



We stayed at 16 different campgrounds, and five of them had showers. Others had access to showers (e.g. $7 shower at the nearby outdoor store).

Swimming pools work, but you will probably have to pay $10 or more.

I asked about showers at a truck stop in Colorado. It was free with a fill-up of 50 gallons or more.

You can also do your own shower with some boiling water mixed with the cold water.



Also, you can get used to not taking a shower every day.

With our airbed and earplugs, there wasn't that much deprivation involved. If you can time your drinking properly to avoid having to get up to pee in the middle of the night, then you are way ahead of the game.

Highly recommended.

Here's our blog:

California to St. Louis Car/Bike Trip
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:21 AM   #26
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T Al, I did folllow your blog and that gave me a bit of inspiration for this trip. It looked sometimes fun, sometimes a bit trying, but never dull.

I mentioned in response to FUEGO's post that I could see myself with a gallon milk carton of water, holding it over my head, wearing just some swim trunks and doing a fair job of cleaning. In some travels thru Asia, I saw folks getting their morning bath from spigots in alleys, lots of lather, little water.

And especially using some of the tip on the site Dixonge mentioned. Some good ideas. I like the idea of baby wipes for freshen up. And anti-bacterial soap. I've heard that lots of soaps based on tallow cause bacterial odors that are not pleasant.

While snoozing did you ever feel unsafe?


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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I can speak from recent experience on this one -- we just got back from our camping trip from California to St. Louis and back.



We stayed at 16 different campgrounds, and five of them had showers. Others had access to showers (e.g. $7 shower at the nearby outdoor store).

Swimming pools work, but you will probably have to pay $10 or more.

I asked about showers at a truck stop in Colorado. It was free with a fill-up of 50 gallons or more.

You can also do your own shower with some boiling water mixed with the cold water.



Also, you can get used to not taking a shower every day.

With our airbed and earplugs, there wasn't that much deprivation involved. If you can time your drinking properly to avoid having to get up to pee in the middle of the night, then you are way ahead of the game.

Highly recommended.

Here's our blog:

California to St. Louis Car/Bike Trip
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:47 AM   #27
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Second the YMCA bit. My card had the magic words "away" allowing free use of other Ys. They now switched to a barcoded small swipe card. The attendant said it still has all the features of using other Ys no charge.

Then again, getting good and funky a few times will really make taking a shower seem like a gift from heaven. Have plenty of past experience with that.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:00 PM   #28
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I've solved the shower problem. I've invented the porta-shower, with partial organic parts.

You fill it with 1.75 liters of H2O, and hold it over your soaped up body.

As a bonus, you come out smelling of a refreshing Eau de Cocoa smell.

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Second the YMCA bit. My card had the magic words "away" allowing free use of other Ys. They now switched to a barcoded small swipe card. The attendant said it still has all the features of using other Ys no charge.

Then again, getting good and funky a few times will really make taking a shower seem like a gift from heaven. Have plenty of past experience with that.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:21 PM   #29
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I've invented the porta-shower, with partial organic parts.
Looks like a good start towards a homemade bong. Maybe hit that and then you wouldn't care whether you showered or not.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:53 PM   #30
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They make portable showers for boating, Saw some in the Overtons catalog not to long ago.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:55 PM   #31
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yep just googled it its called a "Sun Shower its $29 and they also have a pop up shower encloser for another $29.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:17 PM   #32
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I did a couple of the trips you are describing as a young man. We had a blast, some crazt times. We even found a few laundromats that had a bar next door to them.........

Keep us posted........
I thought you were going to tell him to just jump in one of the washers and then the dryer.
All refreshed and ready for the next town,
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Old 06-25-2009, 08:33 PM   #33
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Another idea I thought of that hasn't been mentioned of yet is lakes or rivers. Could be kinda cold, and for environmental reasons you wouldn't want to use normal soap, but it might work somehow...

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Old 06-25-2009, 08:53 PM   #34
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Nice idea, cause most rest stops have water available. I could fill a gallon milk container and screw a shower head onto it and get someone to hold it over my head while I shower. Nice "outside-the-box" thinking.
I think that you can buy these sorts of things. Check Campmor or other camping suppliers. They mount on a pole of some sort or on your car.

Alternatively I suggest trying a Camelbak-type hydration bladder. You can buy these separately without the back packs.

I'm a runner so my typical scenario would be:

(1) Pulling into a camp ground (w/o showers)
(2) Fill up the water container and mount it in the sun
(3) Go and explore the local trails/community on a run
(4) Get back and shower

MB
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:35 PM   #35
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More information than you can stand.

Road Trip Planning: Tips, Resources & Advice
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:03 PM   #36
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Been there, done that ...

... several times over the last 5 decades. I started when I was a late teen, & traveled before the Interstates were built. "I've been everywhere man, I've been everywhere."

Actually, I prefer the minimalist approach. In any such trip, your biggest expense is housing (motel, hotel, hostel, etc.) each night. Food can be found anywhere, and so can fuel. Wash your duds up in the sink each night.

It depends on your personal demands for creature comfort. I personally have done with camping, although I carry a hammock & sleep-bag with me on my motorbike for emergencies (and for the frequent mid-day siesta). Sleeping on the ground holds no more charm. I admit that heat/AC; a locking door; hot water on demand; available electricity; clean sheets; and shelter from the elements has become one of the heights of Western Civilization.

Nor do I cook when out on the road. It is literally amazing, the number and kind of 'kitchens' that might be packed into a small container. Most of said folks then spend their days arguing who's titanium kits are lightest ... while conveniently forgetting that for each meal, there is the preperation + the clean-up/wash-up blues. Clean water--in copious amounts--is NOT all that available on the road. It is also helpful to remember that water weighs about 60 lbs. per cubic foot, and that you'll be expending lots of effort and fuel hauling the precious stuff around.

Get a largish atlas of the USA, and then start looking at the little red notations (smallest print) for where 'things' might be. Last year, I took a week's trip to bike up to Hell (which is in Michigan, between Ann Arbor and Flint), mostly to truthfully say I 'hung out in Hell' for an afternoon. I still have the T-shirt that says so.

Pack light. Make each item do double- or triple-duty. Keep your fuel tank half-full at all times. If you're pedaling or walking, remember to drink before you get thirsty; eat before you get hungry; rest before you get exhausted. Be aware the sun, wind and the cold will harm and kill the unwary.

Don't drive or ride anything that looks new or rich. Don't 'talk your wallet.' Most of the predators that will harm you are of the dark-dwelling, two-legged variety.

Spend a couple days planning and then just GO. Your disasters will serve your future planning.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:11 AM   #37
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When I was 20, I and my then DW took a 6 month, one lap of America trip in an Econoline. We had one for those pack-a-potty chemical toilets for times when a normal toilet was not available, and took showers at better facilities like state parks every few days. Of course we walked in, didn't actually pay the camping fee.

Those were great times and I look back on them fondly nearly 40 years later. I'm not sure how my body would react to those tight quarters now, but it seemed luxurious at the time.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:10 AM   #38
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You can do pretty basic or not. Look at the setup these guys drive around the world in: bumfuzzle.com

I would suggest a modicum of camping gear:

- A small, light tent
- sleeping bag
- canteen or other water container
- some basic cooking gear (nice to have options)
- a few MREs (just in case)
- a solar shower with enclosure
- bucket or other portable toilet arrangement
- cooler of some sort
- LED lantern

That should do it for the basics. Get a Woodall's guide and also do a little research on Flying J and other traveler friendly truckstops.
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:05 AM   #39
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While snoozing did you ever feel unsafe?
No, we didn't. The only times we might have felt that way would have been at the deserted campgrounds.
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Old 06-26-2009, 05:15 PM   #40
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Seems to me you ought to be able to take advantage of your engine heat to warm shower water somehow. At the end of the day there might not be enough sun left to warm things up with one of those solar showers, but if you could put it on your engine block without melting the container, it'd warm up quickly. Maybe just on top of your hood?

This reminds me of an episode of the TV sitcom "Wings", when Lowell was selling the "Car-be-que", a grill which sat under your hood and grilled a meal while you drove.
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