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Showers: Gyms or YMCA?
A newbie here, planning for life on the road this autumn. I hope this posting will help to narrow down which path to take, shower-wise.

Reading CRVL threads, gyms vs. the YMCA seem to be the most popular alternatives. Opinions and circumstances differ as to which is preferred.

Truck stops are also a consideration, but paying for regular showers at a truck stop seems to be pricey, unless you get one of their cards which allows a free shower after a certain amount of fuel has been purchased.

Getting back to gyms vs. the YMCA, which is better? Gyms are convenient, but their locations seem to be limited to rather large cities or towns, if a look at the Planet Fitness website is an indication.

YMCAs are present in a lot of towns, but some van dwellers seem annoyed that the YMCA websites are sometimes unclear as to who is eligible for showers. If I understand correctly, some YMCAs are apparently in networks which do not grant privileges to YMCA members in other networks. And some YMCAs seem geared toward certain age groups, which could be another limiting factor.

Another thing to consider is the cost of annual membership in a gym vs. the YMCA.

Any opinions on these subjects would be appreciated.
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We have rarely found any Ys with restrictions but have seen prices of $2-7 per shower
We also use city pools in small towns, usually $2-3 for just shower.

We won't pay the high price at a truckstop but Margie will hit the fuel island and ask drivers for spare shower tickets. We can usually go into the same shower together...nice to have a good back scrubbing Smile
Jay and Margie. 92 Dodge Maxi van. 300 watts Renogy solar, 2X 6volt deep cycle @ 230Ah.

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. ~Edward Abbey
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I recently started asking truck drivers at the local Pilot as well and have had great success with it. They get showers for free and they get more of them than they can use.

I just stand by the door where the drivers enter the store after filling up and I haven't had to ask more than 1 or 2 people yet.
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most of your truck stops with showers are on the interstates. most of your nation wide gyms are in larger cities. but many of your smaller towns will have a public shower just ask. they do get expensive though. highdesertranger
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I move around a lot. I pick my locations by what interests me and what the weather might be. So having either a gym or YMCA membership isn't practical. So I shower whenever some type of shower is handy. Truck stops, city recreation centers, campgrounds, beaches, some laundromats, friends' places... In between I do sponge baths. Also, I've simply become more comfortable with being less clean. Going over my face, pits and naughty bits with a wet nap is usually enough to keep me feeling clean.

Truck stop bonus/discount/loyalty cards are usually restricted to professional drivers. A couple of times, when a driver saw I was about to pay for a shower, he told the cashier to put it on his card since he had more free showers than he could use. A couple of times, the cashier just waved away my money and let me have a shower free.

If you have a job, you're staying in the same town all the time, and you need to be clean every work day, then some type of club membership is feasible.
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Don't forget that homeless shelters and churches often allow travelers to shower for free. The Isaiah 58 church in Quartzsite is a place I go shower when attending the RTR. Salvation Army, Union Gospel Mission, Rescue Mission, etc are other spots I've used when needed.
Anytime Fitness gyms are nationwide and found in many smaller towns. But cost about $45 per month.

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I'm glad I'm retired Military as I can use the Gym on any Military installation as well as hang out on base/post and not be a problem. Shop tax free at the commie or B/PX. I also plan on getting a Gym membership for when there isn't one close by.
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I've also used trucker showers at truck stops, especially in the more rural areas where they aren't so picky if you actually have a semi. I keep a shower for guests to use thats electric now, but in the past for me and others I've carried solar showers (sometimes a black bag with a hose basically) which if your urban might not be a big option I realize. But who wants to be urban Wink
Scar Honig Stigr
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I use any facilities that come my way. Since I go out of my way to go around big cities, I'm rarely in an area that has national gym companies or Y's.

Ehrenberg and Quartzite both have laundromats with showers. Cottonwood has a really  nice recreational facility with day use passes available. I occasionally see laundromats while travelling that have showers but haven't availed myself of them.

If I'm in an area for a week or more, I go on line and google the local towns recreational facilities to see if they have day pass fees posted. Sometimes it takes a phone call to find out stuff like that if it's not on the website.

I also have a pump up solar shower that can be used either as a solar unit or just pour hot water off the stove in to it when there's not enough sun or enough time to use solar. I've found I can shampoo my long hair quite nicely at the kitchen sink in the van and then do a sponge bath if it's not warm enough outside to set up the shower tent or if I'm somewhere like a parking lot where setting up the tent isn't feasible.

The pump unit is more practical for this than the solar shower bag and also doesn't have to be hung somewhere to get any pressure out of it.

When I stayed in one basic area in Ontario I joined the local gym on a monthly basis and used their shower facilities. It also prompted me to do at least a minimal workout while I was there.... Big Grin
Worry is a misuse of imagination!
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Full-timer again as of November 24, 2015 - 14 glorious years on the road before that!

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