Camping on a river island is a magical experience. The only sounds around us overnight were the... read more
Camping on a river island is a magical experience. The only sounds around us overnight were the... read more
Used them to shuttle for a trip from Sauk Prairie to Wyalusing. They were responsive and patient... read more
This trip was completed during the pandemic and my expectations of good customer service weren't high. It's with great pleasure that I'm able to post that the folks at WI River Outings were very communicative and responded to my many texts, emails and phone calls quickly and in a very friendly manner. In person, they were very helpful and worked hard to accommodate us before sending us off into the world of river water and sand with a smile and a wave.
At the end of our 3 day paddle they were at the boat landing before we loaded up the car and again were very friendly and asked questions about the trip and laughed through stories of some of our adventures.
Combine all this with they huge amount of helpful prep info they have on their website and it's easy to say they upgraded a great trip to awesome.
Read and understand your instructions carefully because if you miss your shuttle, it is an hour and a half till the next one.
I had a brain fart which caused us to miss our first shuttle. No big deal. We got pushed back from9:30 to 11:00.
When we got to the boat doc, we dropped off our gear and my husband. there was no pit toilet or port o potty. My kids and I needed a bathroom. If I would have taken them to the bathroom, we would have missed the next shuttle. So I called to say they would need to shuttle me and the kids. I was told that could not be possible, that only the driver was allowed per instructions.
So I had my teens walk back to the boat launch, and I drove to the shop.
By this time, I just wanted a refund, because I was upset over this poor service. They had me talk to Scott, the owner. I explained what poor service this was to not allow my kids on the shuttle due to the bathroom policy. He said that if they would have allowed it, then they would have all sorts of people showing up with their gear and people and wanting to be shuttled.
For the amount of money we paid, they should have been more accommodating.
I strongly advise you to find a difference place to rent your gear from.. one that puts service and customers first.
And to top it off, there was plenty of room on the shuttle for the kids. Especially after the owners poor reason for not alllowing it
It sounds like your day got off to pretty rough start even before heading to WRO and I'm not sure how much responsibility we're supposed to take for that as a business. I'm sorry that you got a late start pulling out of your driveway.
Yes, we run shuttle times. We HAVE to. We have over 200 canoes (plus another 50 kayaks) available for rent. We have 4 15 passenger vans available to move those customers and boats upriver. I don't expect you to understand but 17 years in this business has taught me a few things...one of them is the need for shuttle times - and stick to them. If we don't have shuttle times there will be chaos and customers waiting hours for a ride upriver.
For 16 of our 17 years, we have customers drop people and gear at the put-in and ONLY the drivers come to Boscobel. If we had to move EVERY paddler and their MOUNTAIN of gear, we'd only be able to move a trip or two with each vehicle and again...customers would be waiting for hours to get a ride upriver OR we'd need a fleet of vans that would boggle the mind. If you feel we're "expensive" now.... The reason there was even a chance of there being room on the shuttle when you were taken upriver is because of this policy.
Regarding the customer service you received:
- You booked a trip that provided detailed email instructions on how to get to the landing and then to the our shop
- You received multiple emails leading up to the day of your trip
- I believe every one of your phone calls was answered on Saturday morning - a busy day in the rental business
- We happily moved your arrival time from 9:30 to 11.
- Because of the state you were in when you arrived at our shop, you were put on a shuttle ahead of some customers that had arrived before you
- And, since you're still on the river as I type, you will also get followup emails asking how your experience was and how we can improve (no need to respond to those, you've already made it clear)
I'll admit, I don't understand how you cut the 11 AM shuttle as close as you did when you were just going to miss the 9:30. I don't understand the route you took to get to the boat landing that didn't pass a single gas station or fast food joint between Madison and Gotham so your teenagers could use the restroom. And we've received a 1 star review from you for things we had no control over.
Please check our other reviews, we've made quite a few people happy with their trip. After all of this, and having a trip under your belt, I hope you'll considering coming back or at least paddle with another outfitter - this river is too special and you had great weather and water levels during your experience.
1. No parking at the landing, we were required to park at the shop when we arrived. Not a big deal, but this may matter to some. Cars were stacked, there's the potential to be trapped in. Park by the ropes if the below doesn’t persuade you to run!
2. No garbage dumpster at the landing, and according to the staff, you're supposed to take your trash with you when you leave. That’s right. With you out of Boscobel. All the way home. I was told that I could use their trashcan but the owner wouldn't be happy about it. So I drove 3 hours with trash in my trunk.
3. Atrocious head winds on the second day. Wife, myself and the kids spent 3 hours paddling to only cover a mile and BOY were we exhausted. Called "WI River Outing" for a hand here's what I heard across 5 calls in 5 hours:
o "It was your decision to go out there"
o "You have a paddle and a boat, you are not stranded" – Technically, sure but
not really in my case. I have kids.
o "We have one guy on a boat recusing people, and he does it as a favor, sir" –
Huh? This one had me dumbfounded. So I guess dial 911 when this guy is out of
o "You are third in line but there's just one guy and he has a small fishing boat" –
Was third for 5 hours. Could have pulled me out while the others play hide-n-seek
o "You have to be patient and STOP CALLING SIR" – If they said call back in 1
hour, I called in an hour. Apparently that’s being impatient.
o "It's your responsibility to check the weather" – I did. Said sunny and no winds.
o "You knew you were bringing kids before going out there, sir. Now you have to
be patient" – She’s likely winning mother of the year with that.
4. They have just one guy and he's not an employee that can retrieve individuals that need a hand.
5. They are unable to provide adequate times for pickups and if you follow-up when they ask, they're annoyed.
6. The woman was highly contentious on the phone and clearly annoyed by my phone calls.
7. When we made it to the landing (without the rescue, long story there), I had to jump in their van for a ride back to my car, the staff seated in front was talking through the day’s events and (not knowing that I was the caller from earlier) said my name and said I was "unappreciative" then laughed.
No empathy whatsoever to the fact we had little children and we were unable to make significant progress. After waiting 5 hours for a rescue, the conditions lightened up enough for us to slowly make it out of there. If I never see Boscobel or “WI River Outing” again, it’ll be too soon.
Just so those seeing this review can get some context: Early on a Sunday morning, around 5 AM a storm front came through SW WI. There was about an hour of high winds and rain. After the storm went through it remained breezy until about noon and then died down. There were some customers who had their boats blown into the water and then floated away.
You'll see that some of the details of the trip have changed above from the emailed response provided to Ferdinand a week ago. I will let our previous reviews and the response below be our final word regarding this trip.
This is the email response WRO send to Ferdinand when he shared some of the info above.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to our survey request. These surveys help us address issues that we might not even realize are issues.
I’m glad you were able to reschedule your trip after the weather we had in July.
I want to start off with information that’s in the description of this trip and I believe is also in the email confirmation:
A word about the weather: This is an outdoor activity and unfortunately we don’t have control over the weather, and if we did we’d probably end up screwing it up long-term anyway. Our goal at WRO is to do everything we can to get you on the water on the day your trip is scheduled because we know how difficult it is for most folks to reschedule their trip. We’ve found that 90% of weather is between the ears, if you believe you’re going to have a horrible time because the weather isn’t perfect in your opinion…you ARE going to have a horrible time. Many of us have become so used to climate and environment control that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to surrender to what we’re dealt. And by the way, the remaining 10% of weather…it’s about bringing the quality gear you need, like rain gear. Surrender to the river and surrender to the weather, it’s almost impossible to really control either.
This is also part of the Gear List: This is a wilderness experience; the Wisconsin River is NOT Six Flags. It’s important you approach your trip in the correct frame of mind. Keep in mind; most people are on the river for 24 hours. There’s no need to over pack and you don’t need “the kitchen sink.” The objective is NOT to see how much you can bring…but how little and still meet your needs.
As mentioned by both Jill and Michele on Sunday morning, we had parties on the river that were without boats…blown away…not available to paddle…caught in trees. They were the priority. As I understand it you had approximately a 15 minute paddle to get to the boat landing. It may have been windy first thing after the storm moved through, but with patience the wind did die and you were able to paddle into the boat landing. I’m not sure what you hoped to accomplish by making hourly, and then every 15 minute, phone calls to hurry a process that was going to take time. In our 17 years we’ve never maintained a boat, and don’t intend to. And just so you know, one more call letting us know you decided to get back in your canoes would have been helpful since someone did go look for you but you had already finished your trip.
I understand that you also had an issue with a discussion about weather with one of the ladies at some point prior to your trip. I’m not sure how to address that. There are apps, websites, local news video and an entire channel devoted to the weather. We can only give the information we have available regarding weather conditions…and can’t be held responsible when they are not accurate. I’m hoping you weren’t suggesting that we knew exactly how Sunday morning would go and decided to put you out anyway.
Your issue with the boat spinning around in the wind was due to needing more weight to the front of the boat, I’ve counselled both ladies on this for the future. The other option is what you ended up doing…wait for the wind to die to down.
Finally, I assume that you don’t do many outdoor activities. Many federal, state and county parks have gone to pack-in, pack-out principles (Leave-No-Trace). If you brought something in, you need to take it out. This has been done for a couple reasons, for many places - it’s the right thing to do and it’s a cost cutting effort by governments. The City of Boscobel runs the boat landing and they decided about 5 years ago to pull trash cans for some of those reasons in addition to others. We could do a better job of sharing this information with our customers, as I understand it, when one of my staff explained that you needed to take your trash with you…you left it anyway.
I’m disappointed your first trip with WRO wasn’t what you thought it would be. My hope is that we get to see you on the river again now that you’ve got a trip under your belt. These trips are great experiences for kids and there seem to be few chances to provide these kinds of experiences.
Mostly, the whole experience was a great time. I pulled back one star because of a bit of a mess at the beginning getting us to the landing - it seems they were swamped with a big influx of people. Unsure how that could have been a surprise to them. Otherwise, great folks and it all went very well once we were in the water. Called the office when finished in Boscobel and they came down and picked us up right away.
Was a blast! Only downside was we were not aware there would be a fee to stay as Muscado campground even though WRO recommended it as a place to stay. Besides that it was a truly peaceful and beautiful mini vacation.
This was the second year that we have worked with WI River Outings for our 2 day/1 night canoe trip. From start to finish, they made our experience a piece of cake! The helpful tips they sent out prior to our trip were awesome and we were able to utilize quite a few of them to make our experience even better. We will be back next year!