The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
Even if you’re just passing through, don’t miss the chance to visit the old mill town of Samoa, across the bay from Eureka but easily reachable via the Hwy-255 bridge. On a narrow peninsula between the bay and the open ocean, the unique Samoa Cookhouse (908 Vance Ave., 707/442-1659, daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner) was built in 1890 to feed the many hungry men living and working in the “company town” lumber mill here. The mill is long gone now, but the cookhouse remains in operation as a sort of living history center, packed with logging memorabilia and blue-collar character. So take a seat at one of the 20-foot-long tables (redwood, of course, covered in checkered oilcloth), soak up the history, and dig into the family-style feasts (all-you-can-eat!). There are no menus, just huge platters of food at very reasonable prices.