One of our favorite things is highlighting people who live in the communities we call home. Joshua Tree is filled with vintage shops, art studios, adventure tours, restaurants, all owned and operated by some of the most kindhearted ladies in the world. We encourage you to take time and read about these women (and visit their establishments while at Babes 6) who've created a life and own amazing businesses just a few miles from where you'll be camping. Introducing our newest content series, Pioneering Women, that specifically highlights these ladies and what they do to make Joshua Tree one of the most unique and welcoming towns we've ever been to. Meet animal lover, fellow motorcyclist, and Rimrock Ranch, Gwen Barker. She will also be on site as an advocate for Mojave Desert Land Trust so stop by their booth and say hello!
Occupation: Co-Owner of Rimrock Ranch
Originally from Chicago Burbs, IL
What brought you out to Joshua Tree, CA? The very first time I visited JT was for a wedding in Pioneertown (the irony!) It was the first weekend getaway with my now, partner, Eric.
What is your favorite part about living in the desert? The grit. From the people that choose to live here to the plants that thrive here. You likely won’t find a 9-5 kind of job here, so you hustle gigs. And your car may not start in the morning b/c the mice ate the wiring. And the swamp cooler isn’t working, and the only reliable handyman can’t come for days, so you figure it out. And the wind just destroyed your patio before it flash flooded unexpectedly. To live here, you have to know that it is not easy. You earn calling the desert “home.”
And its all worth it. “Desert People” find each other and we revel in the payoffs. Desert Rain. Monsoon season sunsets. Clean air. Hikes out your front door. Beautiful horizons that keep us grounded. And of course, the occasional motorcycle ride through some incredible scenery.
Tell us about your business… Rimrock Ranch is an 11 acre motel property built in 1947. We have 4 of the original cabins, a guest suite in our house, a modern structure referred to as The Hatch House, and a Lodge that was built in 1951. We offer our accommodations for nightly stay, and we also host weddings, concerts, car/moto events, and retreats.
What is it like to run your own business? This time of year? Exhausting! A lot of our economy in the JT area is based in tourism, so right now is the busy time. But we make a living hosting people that enjoy the spaces we create for them and those that are having the happiest day of their lives. So, I have to say—I’m exhausted, but I feel fulfilled. And, after working in the corporate world, I’ve learned that’s the most important thing.
Tell us about any moments of clarity while operating your own business: Well, when we first started the business, I did a “worst case scenario” projection. It had us going out of business in 7 months. So, after a year, when we were paying all our bills and doing well, we looked at each other and had a moment of realization that “hey, it’s working. I think we get to stay!”
What do you have planned for the future? We have a lots of plans—it would be fun to build out the 70’s GMC bus we own into a cool dining space. But, one day at a time.
Tell us a fun fact about Joshua Tree that most people wouldn’t know: Joshua Trees were originally planted by giant sloths called the Shasta Ground Sloth pooping out their seeds!
Any recommendations of points of interest you’d recommend to ladies traveling to Babes Ride Out 6? Ride through the park, of course, but then pause at 29 Palms Inn for a delicious meal. It’s a convenient stop you might otherwise miss, and it’s not far from the 29 Palms entrance to the park.