By helicopter and Harley, a bold new way to tour the Grand Canyon
5 July 2012
The world’s largest air tour company is teaming up with the world’s largest motorcycle touring company to give people a new way to tour the Grand Canyon: by helicopter and Harley.
The Papillon Group, which offers air tours of the Southwest’s national parks from Southern Nevada airports, and EagleRider, a California-based company that specializes in Harley-Davidson motorcycle rentals and guided motorcycle tours, are collaborating on packages that will fly people from Las Vegas to the south rim of the Grand Canyon with a 2 1/2-hour motorcycle ride to viewpoints on the canyon rim.
Packages will be available beginning July 15.
“How much more American can you get with the freedom of riding on a Harley while at the Grand Canyon?” asked Robert Graff, vice president of marketing for the Papillon Group.
Graff said he got the idea of offering the package when he saw motorcycle riders who had been exploring historic Route 66 south of the Grand Canyon arriving at Papillon’s Grand Canyon terminal and buying air tour packages.
“I thought, ‘Wow, this would be something uniquely different from your standard fly-drive package in a motor coach,’” he said.
Graff took the idea to EagleRider two years ago, and the two companies worked out the logistics of providing what’s believed to be the first package of its kind offered.
The 9 1/2-hour experience being marketed to Las Vegas visitors will include transportation from the Strip to the Boulder City Airport where passengers will be transported by scenic tour plane to the Grand Canyon. From there, customers will ride Harley-Davidsons along the south rim, stopping at several viewpoints for pictures.
Lunch and drinks will be provided, and motorcycle rentals include a jacket, helmet and gloves. Fuel and basic insurance also are included.
Guides are provided, but tourists with a valid motorcycle license can drive the motorcycles alone.
A second tour will originate at the Grand Canyon and include a 30-minute helicopter tour before the motorcycle ride.
The tour from Las Vegas will cost $489, while the Grand Canyon helicopter package will run $379.
“We’re taking the Grand Canyon tour to another level with this,” Graff said.
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