More True Tales from the Laundromat: 2021 edition

If you remember giggle-snorting over my 2018 compilation of Top 20 True Tales from the Laundromat, you are not alone. It has endured as one of my most popular posts, clinging to the top of the list like an acrylic sock to a fleece jacket.

And guess what. I’ve continued to collect these stories since then, and I’m giving you a quarter’s worth more — no scrounging for actual coins required!

To recap:

One of many “You Do You” facets of RV life is that some folks go for the in-coach washer and dryer, and others don’t. Although we’ve got dedicated hookups for them in our bedroom closet, we opted against installing our own machines, and here’s why: We didn’t want to sacrifice the storage space, weight allowance, or power & water usage, when we can do our laundry elsewhere — in a facility that someone else has to maintain and repair.

Top 20 True Tales from the Laundromat, OwnLessDoMore.us, November 2018

Wondering about the cost comparison? Well, we’ve been on the road for 6+ years, paying to do laundry nearly every week. Sometimes a nearby friend offers up their machines, or we get free facilities as part of a workamping gig, but we still probably average about $6/week.

A new RV washer-dryer combo would have paid for itself by now, with enough green left over for new wardrobes for both of us. We do not care. The entertainment value alone is worth it to this girl, and since Tim only does laundry if he absolutely has to (like if I’ve recently given birth, or had cancer surgery, or happen to be located several hundred miles away), he does not get a vote. We like this system. It works for us. End of discussion.

But one more thing before I get to the final spin: you cannot force True Tales from the Laundromat. They must rise organically from the lint trap, and reveal themselves like a stain you forgot to pre-treat on your favorite hoodie.

So are you ready to get sudsy? I’m starting with the one and only heart-warming story, and then you should prepare for the load to become a little more… unbalanced.

1
“Here. Let me buy you some dryer time.”
“You guys too. Here’s some dryer time.”
“Have some dryer time, on me.”
A man just walked around the room depositing little stacks of quarters into smiling people’s hands, and explaining that he’d found some cash on the ground, didn’t know whether or not it had fallen out of his own pocket, and nobody nearby had claimed it, so he decided to put it in the change machine and pay it forward.
I’m gonna pay mine forward too.
How unexpectedly fun is this???

(January 2020, Apache Junction AZ)
2
Today you get a tail from the laundromat.
Sorry.

#justsaynotocrack

(December 2018, Kerrville TX)
3
I’ve enjoyed unfettered access this week to our friends’ laundry room and its mega-sized washer and dryer.
I think I could wash every item of clothing and bedding we own in 2 loads. Three, tops.
Is it possible to have a crush on a washing machine?
Ack.
This time I’m the weirdo with the detergent.

(January 2019, Pensacola FL)
4
Wow. I don’t know why they’ve put a phone in this brand new facility at all, but you definitely know you’re doing laundry on a military base.

#looselipssinkships
#opsecaf

(February 2019, Barksdale AFB LA)
5
If I ever forget what part of the country we’re in, I can usually count on the laundromat bulletin board to offer up a clue.

(February 2019, Sturgis MI)
6
They were the same size when they went into the dryer.

(February 2019, Sturgis MI)
7
I literally walked uphill.
Through the snow.

(March 2019, Clarksburg MD)
8

(February 2019, Manassas VA)
9
My first thought was not, “Wait. Is this here because they’ve had problems with snakes? Inside this laundry room???”
It was, “Heh. MiSNAKEn identity would have been better.”
I sometimes miss the important part of the message.

(April 2019, Elmendorf TX)
10
Never — no matter how hungry you are — eat cookies that have been abandoned on a folding table.
The dude who left these behind admitted out loud to nobody in particular that they were terrible.
He had also recently informed his companion that he expected to be arrested tonight.
He did not elaborate.

(April 2019, Kerrville TX)
11
In a room the size of a large storage unit: 21 signs
Nine of them deal with pet bedding.
These humans, under close supervision of their dog, put their laundry in the only machine available, which is the one designated pet-free for allergy sufferers.
Dogs are terrible at reading signs.

(July 2019, Hanscom AFB MA)
12
I don’t always judge the amount of laundry a gal tries to cram into a dryer, but when I do, it’s because I’ve had to pull out every single abandoned piece in order to use that dryer myself.
I dried and folded my two loads, and there was still no sign of her when I left — other than the mountain of laundry, of course.
Someone has an affinity for neon mesh undies.

(August 2019, Hanscom AFB MA)
13
Ohmigaw, I love these things!
I was just in here on Monday, and either it’s been installed since then, or I failed to notice it because that was the day I was apparently and inexplicably giving off some sort of “Hey, everybody, please come talk to me” vibe.
Two perpetrators were representatives of my usual gray geezer fan club.
The younger of the two watched me try to rebalance the load in my thunking washer no fewer than three times before informing me that I shouldn’t feel bad because it’s the one that always does that.
The older one, at 86, is still working 16-hour days, says he’s found the secret to longevity, and I can ask anyone in Alamogordo how to find him if I want to talk more about it.
There was also an old Asian woman who didn’t speak quite enough English for me to understand her, so I just smiled and nodded until she left.
It later occurred to me that she might have been saying some version of, “You just put your stuff in the washing machine that always thunks through the spin cycle, unbalanced load or not.”
The fourth and final one was a grandmotherly woman who leaned over toward me as she was walking by, and confided in a low voice, “I know you told that gentleman that you don’t usually talk to men in laundromats, but I met my second husband that way.”
I bet none of those books contains shit like this. Not one.

(January 2020, Alamogordo NM)
14
I bet he likes pinna coladas.

(March 2020, Borrego Springs CA)
15
Your mother doesn’t work here.
Left you a note though.

(August 2020, Kanab UT)
16

(October 2020, Seguin TX)
17
Wearing the pants you can’t figure out how to wash, fluff and fold on laundry day?
You have to admire that boy’s sense of logic.
Maybe try a car wash for those?

(April 2021, Sturgis MI)
18

(April 2021, St. Croix Falls WI)
19
Ew.
It’s one of the dirtiest I’ve patronized, but at least the name is amusing.
Note to self: check dates of last tetanus and hepatitis shots. Maybe google “cholera symptoms” too.
Sandra Dee would not approve.

(April 2021, Wagoner OK)
20
Why the quotation marks?
Why is it not emblazoned over the sink?
Wouldn’t “Wipe your butt —seriously” be a better option in this location?
I have so many questions.

(June 2021, Lake Dallas TX)
21
Teen photo shoot in the laundromat.
Can somebody please help me find my eyeballs?
They’ve rolled out of my head and under a washing machine.
Sheesus.

(July 2021, Coeur d’Alene ID)
22
Threw our stuff into an empty dryer.
Hit start.
Opened it five minutes later to pull out a couple of shirts. (I don’t iron.)
This bright green pet bed jumped out like a Muppet freed from captivity.
We do not have a pet.
I did not put the furry thing in there.
Guess it had been clinging to the top of the drum like Tom Cruise doing some stunt in Mission: Impossible.

(August 2021, Chimacum WA)
23
When the laundromat is attached to the bar…

(September 2021, Bend OR)
24
Based on where we are, I know that they mean the greasy clothing worn by local oil field workers.
But I still couldn’t help wondering who would stuff Danny Zuko — or any other T-Birds for that matter — into a top loader.
And don’t even get me started on the apostrophe.

(October 2021, Hobbs NM)
25
Although it sounds contrary to my posts over the last six years, there really is no drama in laundromat.
Spelling matters.
That is all.
(September 2021, Garibaldi OR)

Author’s note: Just like last time, these posts came from my personal Facebook account. I don’t think it’s plagiarism if I copy & paste my own work, but I thought I’d better explain myself to those of you who are thinking, “Hmmmm. I’m pretty sure I’ve read this before…”


WheRVe we been? Our travels, 3rd quarter 2021

Looks like we flung a couple of ramen noodles at a map, and then tried to follow them around the northwest this summer. Allow me to help unravel the squiggles.

We started where we left off last quarter, in Coeur d’Alene, ID.
From there, we traveled in WA to Yakima –> Ashford –> Port Townsend –> Cashmere before landing back in Coeur d’Alene again for a couple of weeks.
Then we rolled allll the way over to Glacier NP in MT, and allll the way back to Soap Lake, WA.
After that, we made our way to OR, for visits to the Tillamook and Bend areas.
RV miles traveled this quarter: about 2370 
(Map does not reflect exact routing.)

Why all the loopiness?

Our summer was a mashup of pre-planned events interspersed with family visits that had to be finagled where and when our family members were available, plus logical places to layover during the in-betweens, plus recalculations when not one, but two planned events were canceled with less than 2 weeks notice (one fell to COVID, one to wildfire smoke). So yeah, our brains ended up looking a little like twisted noodles too.

I’ll take you on a brief tour of each of our ten major stops. Ready?

Coeur d’Alene, ID ~ June 27 to July 18

It’s a home for us. Tim went to high school there, friends still live in the area, and his folks still visit about once a year. We were lucky to spend time with them both times we swung through this summer.

Yakima, WA ~ July 18-22

It was just a 4-night stop to have some work done on the truck, but we scored on finding a quiet state park within bicycling distance of the repair shop. We celebrated our 29th anniversary at a downtown eatery on our first night, and the only other item of note was actually rather embarrassing.

Ashford, WA ~ July 22-25

Another score: a Harvest Hosts location only 5 miles from the SW entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. With host permission we stayed 3 nights, spent accordingly in their cafe, and were thus able to put in two unrushed hiking days, with gloriously sunny weather and clear views.

Port Townsend, WA ~ July 25 to August 3

Our boy! Our big boy lives in Port Townsend and we hadn’t seen him for 19 months. Oh… ummm… actually both of our boys are big, at 6’2″, but this one’s the first born. And we hadn’t seen him for 19 months. Did I say that already?

Cashmere, WA ~ August 3-10

This is an easy one. Already wrote about it! We celebrated 6 years on the road at the Escapees Cascade Mountains Hangout, during which we went on a scavenger hunt, and went hiking, and went tubing on the river, and had potlucks, and toured a candy factory, and went to a musical, and pretty much pretended we were kids at summer camp again.

Happy 6th annRVsary to us!

Coeur d’Alene, ID ~ August 10-24

We had two weeks to kill before our next event, and Cd’A was along the way, so it made sense to land amongst our people again.

Glacier National Park ~ August 24 to September 1

Time for our second round of “summer camp,” at the Escapees Glacier Country Hangout. The directors planned an incredibly varied slate of activities, and we saw more of the park than we would have on our own: west side, east side, trails, lakes, and guided tours. I cannot pick a favorite excursion or photo, and that’s why you get 12 in this slide show instead of only 4 or 5.

Soap Lake, WA ~ September 2-7

This stop was a last-minute addition. We learned that Tim’s other sister and her husband would be staying at Soap Lake in their new-to-them camper, and then Tim’s folks decided to join them in their new-to-them camper, so we grabbed a site at a campground right down the road, and voila! We had a plan for Labor Day Weekend.

Garibaldi & Tillamook, OR ~ September 8-19

When one door closes (like say, an event we’d registered to attend in WA that was COVID cancelled), another one opens (like say, a third Hangout with a spot available). And that’s how we ended up at the Escapees Oregon Coast Hangout: skidding in sideways at the comparative last minute. We were not at all sad about another week of fun in an area we’d not explored.

Sisters & Bend, OR ~ September 19-30

We found a great place to boondock, and set off on several adventures from there. Mornings were chilly, but the sun came out and warmed up our days, making for perfect hiking and backpacking weather. We squeezed in a pretty wide variety of activities, and have more on our list for an eventual return visit.

Where to next?

We’re now making our way to the Salt Lake City area, where Tim will savor some solo time while I fly to VA for Girl Time, and the fewer details I release about that, the better. Suffice it to say that since we canceled last year’s annual gathering (our 26th) because of the pandemic, we will likely make up for it with double the indulgences this year, and I cannot wait. I’ve even added nights on each end to spend even more time with more girlfriends from my Norfolk-based sisterhood. We were stationed there from 2004-2010, and I still miss the strong sense of community.

After I’ve recovered from the eatingdrinkinglaughingandhardlysleeping hangover, we roll to Hobbs, NM, for the 2-week Escapees Habitat for Humanity Hangout. It’ll feel good to get back to giving back, getting our hands dirty, and sharing the experience with other like-minded RVers. Plus, I’ll get a chance to pull those leftover brownies out of my freezer and upcycle them into something decadent for a potluck dessert.

From there, we’ll roll to Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Amarillo, TX, for about a week. It’s been on our list since before we even started RVing, and we’ve not managed to hit it right a single one of the umpteen times we’ve gone in and out of TX since 2015. This time, I made a reservation — at a highly uncharacteristic 6 months in advance!

After that, it’s back to homebase San Antonio for a few weeks of catching up with family & friends, routine annual medical and dental checks, and holy crap how are we this close to the holidays again already?

So ummm… happy new year? I’m sure I’ll post at least one fresh blog between now and then, and as ever, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter for more frequent updates as we roll along.


We started full-timing in August of 2015, but I didn’t think to do an annual review until the end of 2016, and it was just a listing on Facebook of places we’d visited. After that, I started using a quarterly format.