Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Bare Necessities

One issue everyone knows I have about camping is a hot shower. When my DH first proposed that we take up this sport, I gave him one condition - I required access to a hot shower any where we went - not a lot to ask so I thought.

When the equipment start arriving he was quick to show me a dromedary shower that came with a "personal" shower stall. This little contraption could be installed anywhere one went and the water would warm in the black bag heated by the sun. That did not fit my definition of a "hot shower" even if REI said it was the best thing since sliced bread. For the record it has yet to be used. In fact several years ago my DH stopped packing it when we were preparing to go camping.

Another problem I have is that when we are camping in a camp ground with hot showers, my DH will often pick a very remote campsite. His desire to be "away from the crowds" is in opposite correlation to my desire to be close to a shower. In clearer terms, generally we are set-up as far away from the bathroom and showers as possible.

You can imagine my glee when we arrived at the campground in the Everglades to find, not only were there just three tents for forty spaces, there were two bath houses with showers very close by. Yes, Mother Nature does still have her hand in the Everglades. My DH had told me the showers were "solar heated". The large solar panels on the side of each house showed they were prepared to use the energy of the sun.

The first night we were there I gathered my things together, chose a bath house, and left with the plan of taking a shower. I was thrilled to see that I was the only one in the bath house with three very nice, very clean showers. When I turned on the water I also found that "solar powered" could be translated into medium warm at best. Knowing I was very dirty and needed to bath I managed to get through the shower which wasn't the end of the world but not the hot steaming shower I could have used  - in a perfect world.

When I got back to the tent my DH asked and I had to tell him about the showers. Knowing my love of a hot shower, he discounted my experience saying that it could not have been that bad. After all I came back wet and clean. His faith in my recall was reestablished when he attempted to take a shower the following morning and came back dry, in the same condition he left but frustrated that the shower wasn't even "a little warm."

That afternoon, while at the marina he learned that for $3 one could get an honest to God hot shower. "I'm willing to pay $3 for a hot shower," he said. So that afternoon he headed to the marina, $3 in hand to shower. I stayed at the campsite. He returned with wet hair and a wet towel.

"How was it?"


"Chilly, I thought $3 bought you a hot shower?"

"Well, it does when the water heater is working which today it wasn't, So I ended up taking what was a luke warm shower at best."

The following day he took a shower in the regular bath house and announced afterwards that it really was not that bad.

I feel like I can not win for losing, When we go to a camp ground with great hot showers, I find myself sharing one hot shower with 63 other campsite's worth of women (seriously - Pisgah National Park is an example.) When we are in a camp ground with few people and numerous showers I am a good football field away (Huntington Beach State Park in the winter is an example).

I have dealt with young girls in their early twenties who hog the bath house for hours with their curling irons, extended showers, and primping - only to leave a mess and little hot water for the rest of us. One state park in Florida cuts their hot water off at 8 pm and does not cut it back on until 7 the following morning. And I have been known to rise as early as 5:30 in the morning to bathe just to get a shower that is hot, and when I know I will not be rushed or have to deal with trashy people.

Of course my DH is a hard core camper. Showering is not an issue. He can take it or leave it. Well that is until he decides he needs to, then suddenly he understands my gripes. That is until the next time when a full memory lapse comes over him and he has to wait for a shower only to find barely warm water in a trashy place by the time he can bathe.

His priority is to scope out the tent sight. Meanwhile I am scoping out the bathroom and its location. He says I have my priorities wrong. Whatever.

My Daddy used to say that his idea of "roughing it" was a night in a Holiday Inn with a black and white TV. Given he was an Eagle Scout and had done his stint in the Navy, I think he had put his time in as far tents, close quarters, and cold showers went.

This subject is not a matter of pride to me. I have nothing to prove to anyone. Going for a week in the wilderness, living out of a backpack may have its glories but I'll leave that to someone else. After all Reese Witherspoon may have been nominated for her role in Wilderness (which she richly deserved) but she did not win the Oscar.  I have basic needs and one of them is a hot shower.

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