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I've never used it and never missed it and I ride nearly evey day, year round. However, lots of riders swear by it and wouldn't ride without it so there is no clear cut answer. About all I can assume is it does no harm and may be a benefit to some.
One great place I was pointed towards in 2009 in Lander, Wyoming was the Holiday Lodge (beside McDonalds as you enter the town from the SE).
Not free, but for $10 you get hot showers, a nice grass pitch beside the river away from any traffic, I think there might have been a hot tub, laundry facilities, and a coffee and bun in the morning included. It's a family run place with friendly staff.
Also in Lander is the city park where we camped for free. Nice bathrooms but no showers.
For example, when I've traveled in Canada they have a debit card system (Interac) not linked to a Visa card. So I couldn't use my American debit card linked to a Visa to pay for things in a store, nor could I get cash back with a purchase. When I used my bank card in a store I had to make sure to tell the clerk to swipe it as a credit card only. I could only get money out of bank ATMs (meaning fees) because those little dinky "independent" ATM machines were only linked to Interac. It made it hard sometimes to get cash as a lot of small towns wouldn't have a bank, just one of those independent ATMs. I tended to take out larger amounts from bank ATMs when I could, partially because of the fees and partially because I didn't know when I'd be able to find an appropriate ATM again.
I experienced the same the last two times I was in Canada. Riding the Great Parks route a few years ago I wanted to get some Canadian cash after crossing the border at Roosville. Stopped at a couple of places with independent ATM machines and could not get cash. At first I was worried that there was something wring with my card, but then I guess that the machines were not connected to a network that recognized my card. Finally found a bank in Fernie and was able to get cash from its ATM.
A few years before, after driving to PQ for a Velo Quebec event, I tried to swipe my credit card at a self-serve gas pump and it would not work. The clerk inside the store had to run the card for me.