Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wetless (Bath-Wise)


Which is always fun. Even more fun than you can imagine, shower-wise.

I've been camping at a Capitol State Forest trailhead. It's really a day-use area but there are no signs prohibiting overnight parking so I'm going with it.

I arrive somewhat late in the day, keep a low profile, and burrow into my nest inside the car at dark, which is usually after everyone else has left.

So far Saturday night and Sunday night have been busy times, as expected, but my first night there, last Thursday, was totally quiet. This isn't surprising since Thursday, Thursday night, and early Friday were rainy. Friday night was clear and intensely cold, at least for around here. "Here" is Western Washington, which recently had a hugely atypical cold spell. But also totally quiet.

Spring is coming, and buds are out, but though heavy frost, and snow, are done with for the year (we all hope), the rain will continue for over two more months. I can handle it.

Sometime today I'll have my "side window deflectors" for the car. Once they're installed I'll be able to sleep in the car with ventilation in even heavy rain. That is only a matter of time.

The issue now is bathing.

Millersylvania State Park is my bathing home base.

The main restroom is open as usual, as it is all winter, but the shower is undergoing maintenance. There is a shower available at "Bathhouse 1" down by the lake, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., so the sign says.

It works, the shower. That is in fact better than a lot of the showers at this park, but the issues don't end there.

The problem is that the one available shower at Millersylvania State Park is not open when it should be. I've used it as late as noon, and as early as 9:30 a.m., but so far it's never open by 9:00.

If I wait around, or try to find staff, I waste time.

I was hoping to be at the library, working on things, by 10:30 today, a half hour after it opens. Well, I made it by noon.

I killed almost an hour waiting to see if the park shower would open, without luck. As a second and last resort, I went out of my way to buy a small bottle of soap that would fit in the tray at the Olympia Center. It has public showers. After buying soap in a small bottle then, I reluctantly went to the Center to see what the ground rules were these days.

Homeless guys wash there. True, I am one now, at least for a while, but it's not a great place to hang out, nor are most of those people.

The showers in this place used to be available from 8 a.m. to about noon, or until 10 a.m. on Saturdays. That was in May 2014. Now the hours are 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. (10:00 a.m. on Saturdays) I can't even get into town that early. Fun, fun, fun, but no woots.

No bathing for me! Kinda. Unless I have nothing else to do on that day, and can hang around Millersylvania all day.

So today I tootled on up to Priest Point Park in Olympia. I already needed to tank up on water, and today is dark, so even though I was there at 11 a.m., it was like dusk.

I wheeled around to a little-used part of the place where there's a shelter but no water or playground equipment or anything — the kind of place that people use as a last resort. The shelter was full of picnic tables standing on end, keeping dry until spring. Perfect. (If you have low standards.)

If not perfect, then usable.

I wet my head, soaped it, and rinsed. Done with that.

Next up: crotch.

I wetted a paper towel with rubbing alcohol, sidled backward, in and among the stored picnic tables, dropped my pants, and went over my pee-pee, then used the towel on my backside, which needed a good cleaning because of what I did with it earlier this morning.


Next, I took off my shoes one by one and with a fresh towel dripping with rubbing alcohol I went over each one.

After that I actually felt good.

The cold water on my head was a shock but nothing you don't get used to while backpacking. The alcohol wipes were quick and effective. My feet feel great. But the rest of me is still old and greasy.

Unless I knock off early and try the state park again, I won't be able to bathe until nearly another 24 hours from now, but hey. I have a partial solution for now, on days when no rain is falling — just trail-bathe. It mostly works, and anyone seeing me won't be able to tell: my hair won't be matted and greasy-looking. My crotch and feet will be cleaned off and disinfected. That's something.

Not enough, but something. Quite a bit, actually.

Anyhow, for today, I hereby declare adequate happiness and contentment.