Sometimes something comes up on Groupon that is simply too good to pass up. The Groupon deal for Holmes Helicopters was one of those amazing deals: a 45-minute helicopter tour of the Dundee Hills for two people for under $200. To put this in perspective, it's not uncommon for helicopter rides to cost several hundreds of dollars per person. The reason helicopter rides cost so much is the fuel. It costs $200 per hour to fly a very small helicopter in good conditions, and considerably more for larger helicopters.
Holmes Helicopters is based in Newberg, Oregon, a quick 45-minute drive down the 99w from Portland. The company operates out of a home office and a tent by its hangar at the Sportsman Airpark, very much a mom-and-pop operation. Read more…
We've been looking for great adventure getaways, so we were excited to see a discount for the Imperial River Company in Maupin, Oregon pop up on Groupon. Over the summer Groupon has featured a number of enticing activities, and rafting down the Deschutes at half-off was way too good to pass up.
Up at 6:30 am, we were on the road by 7 and in Maupin by 9:15am. The just over 2-hour trip on Highway 26 brings you up and over Mt. Hood and through the high desert near Maupin. It's a nice drive and the fairly close proximity makes it possible to go down to the Deschutes River for rafting in the morning (check-in is at 9:30am) and make it back home in time for dinner.
While the Groupon made a float down the Deschutes River a smoking-hot deal, the regular rates at Imperial River Company are extremely reasonable. The 18-mile all-day adventure, which runs 6 hours and includes lunch, runs $99 (or $80 for kids). Considering that they run rafts with only 6 people in each raft and you get your own personal guide, transportation from the river, and lunch, it's a pretty great value for an entire day's activity.