Unlikely today's luxury aircraft, early planes served purely practical purposes, such as arresting speeding meteors and giving directions to off-track migratory birds. Shake down shooting stars with today's Groupon: for $103, you get a two-person, 20-minute glider plane ride from Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown (a $189 value).
For more than 40 years, the stratospheric surfers of Crazy Creek Air Adventures have ridden the waves of the wind, chauffeuring sky-struck passengers through celestial cloudscapes. Grab a fellow flyer, strap into a glider, and escape gravity's greedy grasp as a plane tows you up and off the runway. While passengers drink in incredible, fog-free views of the Mayacamas mountain range during the approximately 20-minute flight, an FAA-certified commercial pilot steers the craft through thermal currents, races paper planes, and harmonizes with cacophonous flocks of geese. Geothermal steam clouds rise from nearby geysers, rustic vineyards teem with sun-darkening grapes, and the remnants of an ancient volcano evoke an untamed primordial landscape, forming an unparalleled panoramic feast.
Awarded an A grade in 2003 by the American Lung Association, Lake County boasts one of the lowest ozone-pollution areas in California. Sample a noseful of the cabernet oxygène as you take advantage of the area's myriad camping, hiking, and biking opportunities.