Babes Ride Out

Meet Mike and Matt French of Pioneertown Motel, Joshua Tree CA

PeopleAshmore Ellis

One of the reasons we throw our major event for  Babes Ride Out in Joshua Tree is because of the community of people that make the town so great. Focusing in on local businesses where we throw our events has been a focus for us as these are the people that welcome all of our riders year after year with open doors and a smile. We've always been a fan of Pioneertown and when we found out the motel just went a large haul renovation, we knew something awesome must be going on. Meet Mike and Matt French, the two brothers that are making Pioneertown Motel a destination worth checking out and hanging your hats for a few nights. 


Names:  Mike & Matt French

Location:  Pioneertown, California


In 1946, western movie legends including Roy Rogers, Russell Hayden and Gene Autry, led the charge to create what is now “Pioneertown.” The motel was built for the actors to stay during filming & over many years they filmed hundreds of Westerns right here on Mane Street. Today Pioneertown is known for its rich Hollywood history & more recent musical relevance with Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. Pioneertown is a unique crossroads for raw talent, modern day outlaws & dreamers.

What do you do there and what have you done to it the past year?
We’ve been working hard over the past year to restore the historic property to its original character.  The materials and texture of the building itself make the rooms feel more like cozy lodge than typical motel rooms.  A tremendous amount of the work was removing clutter and addressing deferred maintenance.  Beyond that, the vision was to design the rooms to feel comfortable and timeless with an aesthetic fit for the desert.  We aren’t reinventing the wheel here.  The motel has never had TV’s or phones and we wanted to keep it that way. Pioneertown is as much about what’s not here as what is.

Tell us what it's like to run a motel:
The most fun is meeting the guests and hearing their stories.  In a given night we’ll have people coming out from LA to see a show at Pappy's, older guys riding Harleys, photographers here to explore Joshua Tree, and tourists from Europe here to wander around the desert. There’s a sensibility to the desert that opens these different walks of life to connect in a special way and it’s really fun to be part of that.

Do you have anything in the works for the motel? 
Now that the room renovations are done, we are starting to focus our efforts on the common spaces.  We are likely going to add a space for small events and weddings, as well as a stargazing deck and other places for people to hang outside.  

What sort of activities are around the motel?
The desert is a place to clear your mind & be one with nature, which breeds a spirit of adventure and creativity.  Hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, ATV’s, photography, and stargazing are all easy to do from the property, & guests always like to check out local shops, visit the Integratron, and hang out at Pappy and Harriets.

Best show you have ever seen at Pappy and Harriets:
The best show at Pappy’s is the Sunday Band ever week!

What is your favorite part about living in Joshua Tree?
The people & the land. We are constantly surprised and inspired by the people who decide to call this desert home. The ever-present creativity, intelligence & sustainability is impressive.

Check out Pappy + Harriet's schedule of bands by clicking HERE , make a reservation at the motel, pack up your motorcycle, and enjoy the beauty of Pioneertown for a night or two. Make sure to say hi to the French brothers!