Babes Ride Out

Roll Call | Meet Gwen Barker, Owner of Rimrock Ranch in Pioneertown (Joshua Tree, CA)

Roll CallAshmore Ellis

Tired of the grind, Gwen Barker and partner Eric decided to leave the 9-5 and completely change their lives. Throwing all cards on the tables, they bought the famous Rimrock Ranch located just north of Pappy and Harriet's in beautiful Pioneertown. Gwen is an amazing example of someone whose  passion outweighs all doubts and proves with hard work, determination, and gratitude, you can make any dream reality no matter how crazy it may seem. We can't wait to ride motos with her at Babes Ride Out but before we do, we wanted to get to know this woman who's made her own way and continues to add so much value to the community of Joshua Tree, CA. Meet Gwen...

Gwen Barker @gduben and @rimrockranch



What bike do you ride and how long have you been scootin?  Mostly, I ride my 2016 Harley Davidson Iron 883 Sportster.  But when I’m playing in the dirt, I ride my 1974 Yamaha DT125. I’m a newbie. I took the class to learn how to ride coming up on 2 years ago. I’ve been riding regularly for only about a year—but now that we live in the desert, I scoot every day! 

How long have you owned Rimrock Ranch and what made you want to open it?  We (my partner, Eric and I) have only owned Rimrock Ranch since May 2016.  Originally, it was a hangout for the folks shooting Westerns in Pioneertown.  Rimrock Ranch has been in existence through multiple owners since 1947 as a lodging and event space.   We still have the original knotty Pine Cabins on the property and everything.  Anyway, the short version of the story is that we stayed as guests in Cabin 3 over last New Year's Eve.  We hit it off with Jim Austin, the previous owner and now dear friend.  He alluded to wanting a new chapter in his life—we knew that we were ready for one.  Eric and I had been working in advertising for many years. It’s safe to say we were burning out. So, after talking with Jim,  we started envisioning our life there in a new lifestyle and business. It was all we could think about.  It was time for a change, and this was it. Jim sold it to us within a few months. 

What is it like to own your own business? Personally, the best part of owning your own business is how rewarding it feels to own your own time and life. Of course there are obligations—you can’t throw caution to the wind.  But at the end of the day, you chose how to spend that day.  You aren’t controlled by the whim of others. Professionally, the best part is how rewarding it feels to see your guests or clients enjoy your hard work.  People seek out our property to celebrate their weddings, family reunions, birthdays or relax from the grind.  It feels so good to see their smiles as they enjoy themselves on a property you curate and maintain.

What is the hardest part? The hardest part, in my opinion, is the uncertainty. Every decision you make, every phone call you get impacts your own business and livelihood.  That being said, going back to “the best part of owning your own business,”  I have control over the difficult things.  We can shape the struggle.  So even though the uncertainty is hard—it just means that Eric and I work that much harder—and hopefully, directly reap the rewards.

What are your goals with RRR?  Our goals are around evolving the space, expanding the lodging, and diversifying the kinds of events that happen there.  All the while, keeping true to the original spirit of the place that has been in the soil for the last 70 years. 

Tell us about the facilities and what inspired the space: Currently, we have 7 accommodations with 11 beds.  So, when we are full, we can sleep 22. Our accommodations span from the modern, architecturally renowned “Hatch House” to the 1947, knotty pine cabins. On the property we also have a Lodge, which is perfect for big groups, and an airstream which is perfect for the cozy getaway. 

How did you first hear about Babes Ride Out?  Instagram. Hahaha.  I wanted to go last year, but I wasn’t a strong enough rider.  Little did I know, a year from then I would be living within a short ride from Joshua Tree. 

Any recommendations for things to do in the area while the girls are in town for BRO 4?  For a bite of the most delicious food you have ever had, ride to La Copine.  Amazing food made by two talented and awesome women. Route Suggestion to La Copine: Ride up Pioneertown Road, past Pappy’s.  Make a right on Pipes Canyon.  Enjoy a fun and beautiful ride. Then, make a Left on Old Woman Springs Rd. Take that to La Copine (about a mile up on your left).