Driving north on highway 1 toward town of mendocino. Saw two aircraft blinking in night sky, flying in tight formation, though it might be a refueling which i have witnessed here before. I had told my girlfriend about witnessing refueling and she mentioned on this occasion, 'are they refueling'? We pulled over to watch, lost site of the objects until they came back into site as they turned to the north. At that moment an object moving steadily across the big dipper passed into vision, and we realized the two aircraft were following this object. the object was not blinking but was as bright as the brightest star/planet on this clear night. it steadily moved and circled to the east and then south. the aircraft were blinking white and red lights and were following quite a ways behind. At some point the second aircraft went in another direction and only one followed this object. The thought that the other craft was following a second object occurred. At this point my girlfriend and i were aware that this was abnormal. I believe in UFOs and stay in touch with various disclosure project/conspiracy type information and am familiar with various sightings. The object followed was as bright as the brightest star and then over the course of about 5 seconds, began to dim and dissappear into nothing. At first we thought that was what it did, and after talking about it at a local pub with some folks the thought occurred that it might have left at a high rate of speed in the opposite direction from us. It was hard to tell how high the object and aircraft were....all was silent. They were also quite a distance away...at least 10 miles by my best guess. When the object dissappeared there was left the aircraft that was following, all by itself and it continued south in the area and direction of highway 101. Thats about it...wish I had more!