Living the Life

Most people when they hear about my travels, about how I’m riding my bike in every state, traveling in my motor home, etc. they say things like, “Wow, you are living the life.” And to that, I must agree. However, what you rarely hear me talk about if ever, are the fun times like getting flat tires on my bike, my rig’s endless water heater and battery issues, and the joys of laundry on the road.

Well, typically when I’m on the road, I wait until I have three loads of laundry and I drive my tiny house to a laundromat on my way to my next stop and get it all done in about an hour and a half. Sometimes I’ll do a load or two at a friend’s or a family member’s house. Until this trip to the Florida Keys, I’ve never stayed longer than a week in one spot. Conveniently, the resort where I’m staying has multiple laundry rooms. Because I’m the only poor soul without a golf cart and my errands bike had a flat tire, I planned to do just one load on Friday night. Yes, Friday night when neighbors are out partying, Joy is doing laundry.

Earlier in the week, I noticed each machine was $3.25. After spending 20 minutes rounding up 26 quarters, I walked to the closest laundry room. I noticed it takes a card, not quarters, so back to my tiny house I trudged. Grabbing my credit card, a few bills for added security and my laptop, I walked to the bigger laundromat further from my lot. While my laundry was going, I’d slip into the nearby library to check my email.

Following a ½ mile walk, I was loading my clothes into an empty machine in an empty laundromat. Once loaded, it would not take my credit card. After transferring everything to machine #2, machine #2 would not take my credit card either. When I called the number on the wall for repairs, I got no answer. Knowing there had to be a trick to get the card reader to take my card, I called again. Still no answer.

Frustrated, I left my laundry and walked to the activity room next to the library. Six people were playing a board game, and I interrupted with a question. “Excuse me. I’m sorry to interrupt, but have any of you ever used the washers and dryers here? I can’t get my credit card to work. Is there some kind of trick?”

“Yes, the trick is there’s a special card to use just for the machines.” They laughed. “You have to go to the rec room, the one with the ping-pong table, and buy a card from the machine there.”

Fortunately, I had a $20, a $5, and a $1 in my pocket. When I put the $20 in the machine, it flashed “wrong bill.” The five-dollar bill caused the machine to spit out a card and showed a $3 balance. Once I added my $20, the balance showed $25. Woo Hoo! Maybe I could do a load after all.

Back in the laundry room, I got the washing machine started with the card. My friend Janice called. We talked as I walked my computer back to my tiny house so I wouldn’t have to carry the computer plus a sack of clothes. As I approached the laundry room at 10:10, the security girl, Gina, pulled up on her golf cart to lock the doors. I yelled to her that I needed to pull my clothes out. Throwing them in the bag, I thanked her profusely for giving me a few extra minutes and walked to my tiny house with Janice laughing in my ear and my three-hour laundry ordeal behind me.

Yes, I’m living the life, but sometimes life on the road isn’t all perfect sunrises and sunsets—like when you learn that the word card doesn’t mean what you thought it did. But still, I’m in Florida in March. What’s not to love about that? Yes, I am living the life!