Trucker Wife Tip: TAs have fantastic showers.
My grandparents had a cottage without running water. If you wanted to use any kind of bathroom facilities, you hiked across a field to the low building shared with other cottagers and a number of spiders. You did not linger.
When I went to Mexico one summer to do some humanitarian work, we hung a not-quite-wide-enough towel in the open doorway in front of the toilet. And one day I discovered a small tarantula nestled in the shower curtain. I always checked that shower curtain carefully after that.
In Alaska, 33 teenagers had the use of one shower. We were permitted a total of 5 minutes in the washroom, which included undressing, showering, drying, dressing and exiting the room so the next person in line could race in. The team leader stood outside the door with a stopwatch to ensure that we all stayed on schedule.
So I was prepared for anything in a truck stop shower. I had my no-water-necessary facial wipes. I was ready to turn on icy water just long enough to get wet, and turn it off again before hypothermia took over. When Spike informed me that we would be stopping at a TA one night, and that he had an extra shower credit (non-trucker-price: $12) that he would graciously donate my way, I thought I was ready for whatever that might look like.
Except I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready at all.
I punched in the code and opened the door to a completely private, beautifully tiled, pre-heated room that surely was created by angels. I gazed, wide-eyed, at the spotless porcelain fixtures, the oversized shower space, the big thick towels. I teared up a little at the flowers, the mints, the tiny soap, the hair dryer. The source of hot water was, apparently, infinite.
I almost didn't leave this heavenly place. But having run out of reasons to stay, I put my boots back on and exited to a patiently waiting Spike. We dined contentedly in the company of other truckers, trudged back across the lot to our bunks, and drove off again long before dawn.
Dear God: Thank you for TA showers.