BWCA Local / Transport for 7 lovely fellows? Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
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lnghrdchld
member (7)member
  
08/03/2022 10:07AM  
Dearest Quetico peeps!

We are a *lovely group of seven people, who have been planning this trip for nearly two years in the making! Traveling from the US, Europe for this!

We´ve come into some serious problems finding affordable transport from Thunder Bay to our spot at Voyager Outfitters. They don´t provide a shuttle, and taxis have quoted us at $2,000 CA round trip! In other years, we´ve gone more distance and paid $200! Car rentals are slim and even more expensive.

Does anyone live in the Quetico area and have a bus that fits seven people plus seven bags and wants to make a good deal with some lovely individuals? We´ll be eternally thankful and provide you with a great deal of entertainment, and a nice tip! :)

We´d love to meet you!

Arriving August 7 in Thunder Bay!

-Kevin

 
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Jackfish
Moderator
distinguished member(7895)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
08/03/2022 10:35AM  
A trip two years in the making and now you're four days from your arrival in Thunder Bay and don't have a shuttle to the outfitter? How did that happen?

With that said, I wish I lived up that way to offer a shuttle service. It would be a great way to meet a bunch of great paddling folks and help coordinate trips like yours and others.

Good luck with this little problem, but have even better luck on your long-awaited trip!

One more question: Are you all set with your Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) permits?
08/03/2022 12:12PM  
You might try Barry Giles at Camp Quetico.

In late May, one member of our party had to depart early - they picked him up and shuttled him to Thunder Bay airport in a van that would seat your group with room to spare. He was charged $200 USD.

That said, we were also renting a canoe, stayed in a cabin, had meals in their dining hall and a total of five shuttles on our bill. They might not do a shuttle if they don't also have your outfitting business.

Edit: I'm assuming you are entering Quetico from the north, not from the south through the BWCA. (Both sides have outfitters with Voyageur in the name, as Jackfish alludes to...)
08/03/2022 12:28PM  
Is that Voyageur Canoe Outfitters in Grand Marais? I'm not aware of any outfit by that name in Atikokan.

If it's really your intention to cross the border six times (USA (+Europe) / Thunder Bay / Grand Marais / Quetico / Grand Marais / Thunder Bay / USA (+Europe)) any reasonable person would be gobsmacked by this tortured plan. And how or why have you left your transportation from the airport to your put-in at the eleventh hour???

There is so much wrong in this scenario I think we are being punked.





08/03/2022 12:41PM  
You have left this issue too late. I know some folks who probably could find you a ride but it is just too late to coordinate this in four days. I get my ride arranged at least three months in advance.
08/03/2022 01:37PM  
Argo, I will bet they are talking about the Voyageurs on Nym lake...I paddled past their lodge a few weeks ago.

Voyageurs Wilderness

More Editing: If the OP is indeed in this eleventh-hour predicament, I'd switch outfitters if possible. OP & crew are almost certainly renting canoes if they are coming from Europe.
The Voyageurs Wilderness website does specifically say they provide shuttles from the Thunder Bay airport...if they are not providing shuttles anymore, that might be cause to get a deposit back. Maybe.
lnghrdchld
member (7)member
  
08/03/2022 02:30PM  
Hey ya´ll!

Loving the replies - I surely knew I would get some head wagging at the late transport issue. I wish we were not in this predicament but we´ve had a few changes at the last mile here and well, this is where we are at.

Just to be clear - yes - we are traveling in from Nym Lake side!

Changing Outfitters is not an option for us - they´ve been too much of a help so far to abandoned them one week before a trip! But they just don´t supply shuttles anymore - no detailed reason given.

We do have a transport but just feel we´re being cheated on the costs here - and thought it´d be amazing to meet some old or young paddlers who might have some time on there hands....and a van....a big van. :)




08/03/2022 02:59PM  
You're not being cheated on the cost. I used to fly and the cost of a car rental was about $450 for ten days in a small-to-mid-sized car. For kicks this year around Feb, when I usually book (I drove instead of flying), I checked the rate and it was about the same as last year. But I checked again shortly before my trip in July just to see what inflation and scarcity had done to the prices. It was over $1,200! Upsize that to a vehicle that could accommodate a group of seven and you're easily at $2,000.

Just pay it and don't hate yourself. You're on vacation.
08/03/2022 03:26PM  
lnghrdchld: "Changing Outfitters is not an option for us - they´ve been too much of a help so far to abandoned them one week before a trip! But they just don´t supply shuttles anymore - no detailed reason given."


Call Barry at Camp Quetico (& for that matter, all the other outfitters) to see if he's willing to help. Explain your predicament, and consider offering to pay more than his going rate since you are outfitting with others.

I'd still consider fully switching; your outfitter may be very helpful, and I hear they are super people at VW, but ultimately they are not able to help with all your needs and transport is a critical element.
billconner
distinguished member(8658)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
08/03/2022 05:51PM  
If I were in your spot, I'd call Wayne at Souris River canoes on the oft chance he might have a suggestion. Just a shot in the dark.
08/03/2022 06:42PM  
sns: "
lnghrdchld: "Changing Outfitters is not an option for us - they´ve been too much of a help so far to abandoned them one week before a trip! But they just don´t supply shuttles anymore - no detailed reason given."



Call Barry at Camp Quetico (& for that matter, all the other outfitters) to see if he's willing to help. Explain your predicament, and consider offering to pay more than his going rate since you are outfitting with others.


I'd still consider fully switching; your outfitter may be very helpful, and I hear they are super people at VW, but ultimately they are not able to help with all your needs and transport is a critical element."


Outfitters cannot transport folks who are not renting gear. Their insurance prohibits it.
08/03/2022 07:08PM  
Argo: "Outfitters cannot transport folks who are not renting gear. Their insurance prohibits it. "


Interesting; did not know that.

Being the contrarian, I would ask to rent one portage pack, and offer to pay double the normal rate for a shuttle.

Does not hurt to ask!
Wispaddler
member (49)member
  
08/03/2022 07:49PM  
I think camp quetico does a thunder bay airport shuttle for about $200. They are a reliable outfitter. I used them last month - Barry has been at it for 25 years. You may just have to tell the other outfitter that you’ve lost your ride so will have to switch. They are a few miles north of Dawson Trail camp ground.
Wispaddler
member (49)member
  
08/03/2022 08:16PM  
See also Ontario Northland bus service. I think they may do Thunder Bay to Atikokan a few times a week. I’d think Voyageurs might be willing to run up to Atikokan to pick you up if they are outfitting seven of you.
Wispaddler
member (49)member
  
08/03/2022 08:45PM  
Alas, I checked…. appears to be a very round about 12hr bus ride.
08/03/2022 09:13PM  
Another last resort try Kijiji Thunder Bay and put a large dollar amount.
lnghrdchld
member (7)member
  
08/05/2022 08:25AM  
Thanks all for the amazing support. We’re searching alternate options but well on our way regardless. Trip report coming up. ??????
08/06/2022 05:31PM  
This is just an observation more than help, but: facing the same challenges, I arranged a car rental about 3 months ahead of my early June trip for a fairly reasonable 1000 Canadian or so for an SUV for 12 days.

When I made some minor changes to shorten the plan a couple days, I found that trying to reserve the same rental in June was looking well over 2000!! They've got some demand-based pricing going on for sure. I kept the original rental and just took it back early, and Budget reimbursed me for the unused days.

It always feels stupid to fly from CA, rent a vehicle, and leave it in a parking lot for ten days or so, but I like the flexibility to drive around and get provisioned and take my time and work with wind and weather if necessary. But if there were reasonable shuttles from International Falls or Thunder Bay, I might well use them!
08/07/2022 08:59AM  
Luckee: "It always feels stupid to fly from CA, rent a vehicle, and leave it in a parking lot for ten days or so, but I like the flexibility to drive around and get provisioned and take my time and work with wind and weather if necessary. But if there were reasonable shuttles from International Falls or Thunder Bay, I might well use them! "


Agree.

But I just checked my reconciliation spreadsheet from 2004. The cost of the limo for six was $545. Eighteen years later I can imagine that inflating to closer to $1000 or the cost of a car rental which offers much more flexibility. Plus yours is a twelve day trip.

Trip duration is the pivotal factor. The longer the trip the more days charged to rent a vehicle. If a limo service was available, the advantage would be for longer trips. But its all moot. If you're gonna fly, you have to rent...and book it as early as possible!

Another alternative would be to fly to Toronto and rent a car. The drive around the north shore of Lake Superior is stunning and you could break it up and camp in many locations such as Lake Superior PP.
 
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