I live in far northern California. I'm not talking about San Francisco, that's central California, check the maps. Eureka is five and a half hours drive north of SF and still nearly two hours drive from the Oregon border. I5 in CA which runs from the Oregon border to the Mexican border is 797 miles long. CA is huge and, despite the large urban areas, most of it is only lightly inhabited. That includes Humboldt county. The total population of the county is just under 135,000.
The main reason the population is low is the isolation. Coastal Humboldt is a plain stretching out from the coastal mountain range to surround Humboldt Bay. To exit the county, you have to cross the mountains on one of four winding highways all of which narrow to two lanes at one or more points. I'm not talking about four major roads, there are only four roads period. We lost our railroad decades ago. There are scheduled flights, but it costs more to take a flight from Humboldt to SF than from SF to New York.
The area including the surrounding mountains are home to the Coastal Redwoods, the tallest trees in the world. Hence, we live behind the Redwood Curtain.
Luckily, we are a self-reliant lot. This weekend alone, there is a major Reggae festival, a folklife festival, dozens of other musical venues, a dog show, at least two plays, a green living expo, a rodeo, a minor league baseball game, several farmer's markets, numerous nature walks and that just hits the highlights. Even if we do have the highest gasoline prices in the continental U.S. (they barge our gas in from the SF Bay area), it's still a wonderful place to live. Maybe that's why we have more artists per capita than anywhere else.