Turtle Tubing allowing people to go with the flow
If you go …
What: Turtle Tubing with the Turtle Bus.
When: Seven days a week, with happy hour options available after 4:30 p.m.
Where: Dotsero River Club.
Cost: To rent the Turtle Bus (22 people max) for a full day costs $1,320 ($60 per person); to rent the Tiny Turtle (11 people max) for a full day costs $660 ($60 per person); shared round-trip and floats cost $60 per person; and the do-it-yourself option to rent the tubes is $30.
More information: Visit www.turtletubing.com.
With anything the Turtle Bus does, the journey is the destination — and Turtle Tubing is no different.
“It’s an easy, laid-back, go-with-the-flow mentality,” said Shane Ward, founder and proprietor of the company in its eighth year. “When you come with us, you know you’re going to have a fun day, care-free. We’ve got it all for you, full service.”
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The Turtle Bus fleet consists of three school buses, uniquely outfitted to allow people to stand up, dance and move around while commuting to the Colorado River for a day of rafting.
The company touts itself as the leaders in “transpertainment,” where the commute is a fun part of the day’s adventure, also eliminating the hassle of driving for guests. An added bonus: Turtle Bus has a liquor license.
“The party doesn’t have to end when you get into your transportation vehicle,” Ward said. “We allow it to continue with the fun, custom interior. You don’t have to sit in your seat.”
This summer, Turtle Tubing is putting locals and visitors alike on the river.
“People come to Colorado for the outdoors, but they don’t know what they’re going to do, and this is the full package,” Ward said.
From pickup to dropoff to providing the “Cadillac of tubes” to get on the river, Turtle Tubing provides a fun, laid-back activity for everyone. This year, Turtle Tubing put 141 people on the river in one day — a new record for six-person operation.
“The secret of Turtle Tubing is our tubes,” Ward said. “It’s not an inner tube. It’s a towable tube, so you sit above the water. This allows us to go every single day, no matter if it’s cloudy or sunny.”
EXPERIENCE FOR EVERYONE
One family trip this summer included everyone from the 2-year-old kid to the 98-year-old grandmother, Ward said.
“When you look at all of the activities in the Vail Valley, we’re one of the only where 60 people can do the same activity at once,” Ward said. “We can put 60 people on the river together at once. It’s an experience everyone can have.”
For kids, it’s also an activity to gain some independence.
“The kids get to create their own adventure. They’re the captains of their own ships,” Ward said. “They get to be independent.”
ABOUT TURTLE BUS
Ward started the business eight years ago and is enjoying its progress.
“I started the business because my mom took us on family vacations to the river as a kid,” the North Carolina native said, “and that gave me the love of the river.”
Going to school in Florida, Ward found the “party side of the river.”
The Turtle Buses are unmistakable — large, green buses with people enjoying themselves going wherever they’re going — be it Turtle Tubing or bowling or getting picked up from the Minturn Mile.
“The ‘turtle’ came from: turtles like the water, and turtles move slow,” Ward said.
Reservations are recommended for large groups, including wedding parties, but The Shack at the Dotsero River Club is open for drop-ins. Being located in the Ute Indians declared Hole in the Sky, the weather is often warmer and more dry at the Turtle Tubing headquarters in Dotsero.
“I think for weddings this would be awesome,” said Daniela Lara, who went Turtle Tubing earlier this summer. “And there’s not really anything like this.”
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.