Truckers, not infrequently, are a filthy lot, but they do like their showers. Everybody in the trade knows precisely what kind of shower facilities are available at each of the thousands of truck stops all across America, and the choice of which piece of asphalt to pee on during the night is frequently determined by how the clean the showers are likely to be. The Road Ranger in Tuscaloosa, one might reason, is an easy on and off from the highway and there’s always plenty of parking, but the showers are not very well-kept. Best to push on. The Pilot in Walla Walla is invariably crowded and the fuel aisles are difficult of access, but the showers are always clean. Better stop for fuel.
A shower is nominally about eight-fifty, but as near as I can tell nobody has ever paid for a shower in the entire history of trucking. Showers are a loss leader for selling fuel. Fifty gallons, or at most a hundred, gets you all the hot water you like. Once you’ve bought your fuel, the shower is credited to your reward card (all the truck stop chains have reward cards) and can be redeemed anytime within seven days. Team drivers, because they drive more miles, fill up almost every day and thus get to shower more often. (Yes, one fill-up gets you two showers if you drive as a team.) Solo drivers need to manage their fuel stops more carefully in order to maximize shower frequency.
If your mental image of a trucker’s shower is a dank and moldy concrete cubicle outfitted with rusty pipes, think again. What you generally get is something like a fully-tiled motel bathroom. Sink and a mirror, toilet, shower stall, two towels and a washcloth, soap and shampoo.
Who has the best showers? From my limited experience so far I would have to say Flying J. Even the worst Flying J I’ve seen was a cut above average. Bit of a mildew problem, a little cramped, but still the shower stall had that container of FJ-green almond-scented shampoo and body wash: very refreshing after a long day on the road. I’ll bet that investment in almond scent sells them an awful lot of diesel.