We've heard the stories about truckers and their beauty tips. Maybe you've seen them when you ventured into a truck stop? You know, those bleary eyed, unshaven, hair-flying-about, dirty looking, poorly dressed people. WAIT!! That's the guy out front asking for a handout. Never mind, I thought it was a driver. Now don't get your shorts in a wad! I am only kidding, poking fun if you will. Yes, it's true: there are drivers that fit the description above. It is also true that there are many other people that will fit that description.
Before I started this adventure, I had no clue about the what, when, and how of driver showering, washing clothes, or any of the other more "personal" daily chores. Well, let me tell you what I have learned. Now, don't go thinkin' that what I have gone through is what you will go through. I can only tell you that I have a suspicion what I've experienced is pretty common to all companies and drivers. I can attest that what I've read on other blogs is true. There is no excuse for being dirty and sloppy - unless you call personal preference an excuse!
With the exception of one small, dirty, run down truck stop, all the ones that I have been to have showers and restrooms. Most showers will cost you $10. What does this give you? A private lockable room with a sink, toilet, shower, one or two towels, small bar of soap, and a washcloth. There doesn't appear to be any time limit on how long you can bask in the hot water. TEN BUCKS!!!! I hear you cry. That is, unless you buy fuel or repair services. The places I've been to will give you one shower credit with a 50 gallon minimum fuel purchase. I don't know what it is for repairs. So, for every different truck stop you go to, get one of their frequent user cards. Even though my company has their own fuel card, the truck stops still give you the credit. Just slide your card in the card reader when told to do so. You can bank shower credits on your card too.
The other option is to use the showers at your company's own terminals. I haven't found them to be as clean as those at truck stops (after all you are paying for the truck stop showers) but they are still quite usable and much better than being dirty. So far towels have always been included, while soap has been hit or miss. At every terminal our company has, and each truck stop that I've been to, there have been washers and dryers. I don't know what the charge is at truck stops, but the terminal dryers and washers are $1.25 per load - each. My loving wife packed packets of soap for me, but you can purchase small boxes at a pretty steep cost. No excuses for dirty people or clothes.
My wife pointed out to me that if one doesn't have a high opinion of how they look, they won't do their best to look good. That doesn't make them good or bad, it's just what they are. After all, as drivers, we aren't trying to impress anybody except ourselves! We are cooped up alone in a tractor cab all day. We can be what ever we want to be on the CB radio and people looking at us from their car can't see what we really look like. So unless you want to be clean, there isn't much incentive to be clean.
If you need to take bathroom breaks, then do so. Sure, we are paid by the mile, and the more miles we run in a day the higher our earning ability. But let's get real! No one wants to change their truck into a bathroom. (Of course there are always emergencies and various illnesses that make this change a temporary necessity). Be polite about what you do and remember to always think of others. Stopping at a rest stop doesn't need to take all day. Stop, do your thing, and then keep moving.
In many areas your life on the road is governed by forces out of your control. But you cancontrol how clean you are, how well you look, and your personal habits. It can be what you make it. You can be clean. My trainer showers every other day and changes clothes when they are dirty. What you do with your under clothes is your preference. If you're out for two weeks and have the room, take enough clean clothes and wash em at home. That's my plan. Use wet wipes to do personal cleaning when you get up. I keep plenty of drinking water with me - at least three liters - and this serves as teeth brushing water too. Being"hair challenged," hair grooming isn't a real problem for me, but I keep clean and combed what little hair I have. I shave each day, too. I just feel better and work better when I am clean.
I have tried to explain all of this to my wife, but until she actually goes on a trip with me I think it's a little over her head. Let me put it this way: you are camping in a closet and using public bathrooms to clean up in! There, that about sums it up! :-)