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“Bob and Starved Rock Adventures are slime balls. Beware of Houseboats”

Starved Rock Adventures
Ranked #6 of 14 things to do in Ottawa
Type: Other
Attraction details
Reviewed August 14, 2013

First off let me say that I don't ever write reviews because usually I give people the benefit of the doubt most of the time, but this time I had to.
Back story: Myself and 14 others were celebrating our friends bachelor party by renting 2 house boats on the Illinois waterway. The best man did a hell of a job of planning and communicating with everyone about availability, cost, and capacity. Everyone shows up with the anticipation of a good time and a quality experience. It was far from that.

Lets start with Captain Bob:
This sloppy excuse for a human being and business owner, couldn't have been more unprofessional. From using foul language and treating a group of 30 year olds like children, to smoking on our boat, having a homeless appreance and stench, and just being down right creepy, he is a con artist and thief. Now I understand that a business owner has to have rules, contracts, and limitations, but Bob's were underhanded and unfair. The contract for the boats stated that damages to the boats would be charged to the customer upon return and checkout. What it doesn't state is that from years of poor maintenance and cheep parts and hardware it is now Bobs turn to pass his irresponsibility onto the customer.

The Boats:
The boats initially were perfect for what we were going to use them for. They all were clean (enough) for all intended purposes. (There is no way to keep spiders and other bugs off a boat, it's nature) But you would expect that if the boat has some amenities (such as refrigerator, A/C, generator power) that it would work and you would be shown ways to properly operate them. Not Bob. He tells you in a very condescending voice to just shut it off and turn it back on. The first night on the boat it was 91 degrees out with no generator power or A/C and no way to fix it. Ends up, the generator was out of oil (a simple maintenance procedure that should have been completed before our arrival). The problem wasn't fixed until the next day when a maintenance guy came out, opened the generator cabinet and added the oil from a can of oil, that was sitting in the cabinet for this exact situation. What a joke.
The boats are also powered by plastic props. Yes, plastic props. We were instructed to check the props before we left (which we did) for three blades. All props were in good working order when we left. When questioned about the plastic props and the ease of breaking them, Bob's reply was "That way when you kids (we are 30) break them, I only charge you $50 a blade". My reply of "If one blade breaks don't you have to replace the whole prop?" His reply of "If you don't like my rules don't rent my boats" was a real 2nd grade response.
Finally, the best surprise was the fact that Captain Bob forced us to rent shuttle crafts. These shuttle crafts were 15 horsepower Jonboats that each houseboat, unbenounced to anyone and nowhere in the contract, had to rent for $35 dollars a day.
We took the boats about 8-10 miles down the river, tied up on shore and had a blast for two days. Upon returning the boats, we cleaned, sweep, washed, and disguarded all trash and inventoried everything. Including the props. All blades were accounted for, but still was charged $150 dollars for some reason.

Bottom Line: Starved Rock State Park and the Illinois waterway were great and a beautiful place to visit, but Bob and Starved Rock Adventures are con artists, thiefs, and unprofessional. My only advice is if you are forced to deal with this disgusting excuse for a business owner, take pictures and document everything. Otherwise, be prepared to be charged for breaking things that were either not broken or didn't work to begin with. GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Hope this helps someone.

40  Thank Matt M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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38 - 42 of 65 reviews

Reviewed July 31, 2013

Nestled along the Illinois River is beautiful Starved Rock. Living in the area allows me to take the time to hike the trails and visit the resort. I've stayed at the Lodge in the winter and hiked the snowy trails, you get some excellent views of the Eagles soaring along the river fishing for their dinner. Another great time to visit is in the fall when the leaves are changing colors, it is truly breathtaking. They have several presentations throughout the year to take advantage of the fall colors, or the eagles. Take a look at their website, you won't be disappointed if you travel here for a getaway.

2  Thank L A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2013

Starved Rock State Park is a wonderful park to visit. We live in the area and bring everyone who visits us to the park for at least one hike. The trails are varied and appeal to different levels of hikers. Strollers are not really feasible for this park, but with a little planning you can easily bring children of all ages along for a hike. The canyons and waterfalls are beautiful and most trails are very well maintained. There are trail maps posted in various places and maps are available at the visitor's center as well as online. Definitely bring along bug spray if you intend to hike in the canyons. The Visitor's Center and Starved Rock Lodge are conveniently located for a quick snack or lunch. The park is also quite close to the towns of Utica and Ottawa if other dining options are desired.

2  Thank Moku_Malihini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

The Starved Rock State Park (just 8 miles west of Ottawa, IL) is still one of the outstanding parks in the Midwest! Our grandchildren from California visited it with us three weeks ago and climbed up the famous 'Starved Rock' part of the park. The waterfalls, trails, lodge and great food in the lodge make for a well rounded visit. It is one of the destination sites whenever we get family or friends in to visit.

1  Thank Hans A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

I've lived here for a long time an always enjoying going to what we call the Rock. Great for family must be able to walk because this a place is for hiking. The food at the lodge is great and for everyone. If you chose not to eat there the town is very close with pretty of places to eat. A must see if you are ever in the Ottawa Il area. To enjoy it the most it will be a all day affair. Have fun wear walking shoes!!

Thank Edward S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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