I just read an article in my AAA magazine (American Automobile Association—not to be confused with AA magazine) about finding peace and quiet in Southern California. As the author describes, this is no easy feat.
One place the magazine recommends for seeking solitude is the Torrey Pines Gliderport, but not the actual Gliderport, which happens to be filled with people; it's the sky above the Gliderport that provides some relief from the constant drone below it. My Dad and I talked about taking tandem flights off the La Jolla ocean cliffs the first time we saw the Gliderport after moving here. And on Father's Day in 2007 that's what he wanted to do. A co-worker told me her Dad asked her to go to church with him—my Dad wanted to jump off a cliff—I'm not sure what that says about my Dad's outlook on his family life, but it sounded fun to me.
It's kind of sad that to get some sense of silence in Southern California, you have to launch yourself off a cliff with a parachute. But I do agree there is nothing more peaceful and breathtaking than floating around in the air without an engine roaring around you. I'm scared of a lot of things, but heights isn't one of them and I've been able to take advantage of parasailing, hot air ballooning and paragliding now, and I highly recommend them all for anyone who seeks a natural sense of quiet (you'll hear the wind, the waves and probably your own heartbeat), but also gain a different perspective on the vast and beautiful world below you.