The Phoenix Nest

Riverbend Campground, near Nisqually, Washington

Riverbend Campground, near Nisqually, Washington

A Stop on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour

By Jim Fulton

Last revised:

[Introduction]

In June of 2017 I sold my house near Olympia, and moved into a travel trailer that I lived in at the Riverbend Campground near Nisqually, Washington.

Nisqually is only a short, familiar trip from my house in Olympia. I passed through the town almost every time I drove north. That proximity was just what I needed, since I was going to be commuting back and forth as I got the house ready to transfer to the new owner.

During my month there I engaged in the laborious process of moving the stuff I needed, shedding what I didn't, and began the learning curve of living in small quarters.

What is somewhat wierd is that I quickly became at home in the trailer, despite having to reconstruct the habits of my life, and I didn't miss the old house that I had lived in for almost 19 years (more than any other house in my life), nor the many items familiar to that life that I handed over to others. I guess I was subconsciously ready for the transition.

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Nisqually, Washington

Nisqually is a small town in northern Thurston County, Washington, just south of the Pierce County line. I've driven through it hundreds of times, since that road is the shortest, prettiest of all the routes between my home in Olympia, and any destination to the north.

Nisqually lies on the southern bank of the Nisqually River, which flows from the Nisqually Glacier on the southern flanks of Mt. Rainier. Given what happened in 1980 to the towns downstream of the rivers that flowed from erupting Mt. St. Helens, I've long thought that a similar fate will befall Nisqually when Rainier blows its top.

There's not much to Nisqually economically: a convenience store, a quarry, another business or so, plus a couple of RV parks that cater to the fishermen that swarm to the Nisqually River. That turned out to be convenient for me, since it provided a place to park my travel trailer while I disposed of my house and contents.

The Journey to Nisqually

The first time I stayed in Nisqually, the trip was very short, about 11 miles from my home in Olympia. I could have shortened it to less than 9 miles, but I would have crunched my trailer into an 11' railway trestle, like so many inattentive truckers did, while I was living there.

My second trip was longer, about 300 miles, along I-180 through the Columbia River Gorge, then up the familiar I-5. Again I had a slightly shorter alternative, over I-90 across the Cascades, but it was late October, and I elected to avoid the threat of early snow in the mountains. I did take a few photos along this trek.

Maps and Details of Trips to Nisqually

Maps and Data for First Trip to NisquallyPhoenix
  Date Tour Nights Odo Lodging City State Map
Previous         My Old Olympia Home Olympia Washington Google Maps
This     30 16,500 Riverbend Campground Nisqually Washington
Mileage Elevation
Δ GPS Local Accum City Δ
GFT
11 11 1,162   26 -69 Google Maps
Next     14 18,986 La Conner RV Park La Conner Washington
 
Maps and Data for Second Trip to NisquallyPhoenix
  Date Tour Nights Odo Lodging City State Map
Previous   459 1 47,036 Pilot RV Park Stanfield Oregon Google Maps
This   460 41 47,350 Riverbend Campground Nisqually Washington
Mileage Elevation
Δ GPS Local Accum City Δ
GFT
314 279 1,162 28,833 26 -566 Google Maps
Next   501 147 48,580 Lake Pleasant Campground Bothell Washington
 

Photo Gallery for Second Journey to Nisqually

Second Journey to Nisqually

Second Journey to Nisqually

Second Journey to Nisqually

Riverbend Campground

I stayed at Riverbend Campground back in 2017, when I made my transition from house-bound to traveler. Over the past year and a half, I've visited a lot of campgrounds, giving me a far broader basis for comparison.

Riverbend is mainly a membership campground that has a few sites available for transients. It is a large, rambling, well-wooded area along southern banks of the Nisqually River, where the salmon run several times a year, a relaxed place to stay for a week or for years (if you can get a membership).

My site this time was just outside the main entrance, which meant I didn't have to trouble with raising the gate when I came in, or the frequent, sharp speed bumps of the interior lanes. The cellular service was poor, quite insufficient to support adequate wifi using my mobile hotspot. So I rented a cable modem from Comcast for my stay.

Most of photos below are from my first visit. The few from the second visit reveal the dreariness of Western Washington Novembers.Phoenix Note

Riverbend Campground: Reviews and Details

Contact
Reviews
Address 1040 Clubhouse Ln SE
Olympia WA 98513
Reviewer Rating
(2018/10/25)
Max
Home Page https://www.riverbendcampgroundwa.com/ Campground Reviews 4.9 Average 10
Phone (360) 491-2534 Good Sam 7.5 10
Associations Tripadvisor 2.5 5
Rate (net US$) $$22.50 (Monthly Rate) KOA n/a 5
Features
Phoenix
Surfaces Roads Gravel Site Gravel Family Area Gravel Value 8 10
Power 50 30 20   Overall 7 10
Site Sewer Water Pull-Through   Attractiveness 7 10
Amenities Picnic Table Paved Patio Fire Ring Neighborhood 8 10
Shade Trees Campground 7 Site 7 Neighborhood 7 Friendliness 8 10
Play Areas Playground Swimming   Golf   Site Length 5 10
Tennis   Waterfront Fishing Site Width 7 10
Other   Ease of Access 3 10
Miles to Fuel 15 Propane 0 Groceries 155 Quiet   8 10
Museum   National Park   Point of Interest   WiFiPhoenix Popup hot-spot 0 10
cable 8
Pros
  • Spacious
  • Comfortable
  • Friendly
  • Well forested
  • River access
Cons
  • At this site, cellular wifi inadequate

Photo Gallery for Riverbend Campground

Riverbend Campground

Riverbend Campground

Riverbend Campground

Onward

My next stop after leaving Olympia was Bothell, Washington, where I planned to stay for a few months to be close to family for the holidays and winter.

Happy Trails!

A Favorite Photo from Nisqually

Nisqually, Washington

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