The Sophomore Slump

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My Weekend With Marilyn

My weekend with Marilyn and the rest of Palm Springs was kind of a shoot from the hip, spontaneous runaway act. It’s just that I had a choice to either mope around or go somewhere for 14 days. I got out of the house and, with zero plan in mind, I started driving.

I took the road by surprise and the road ended up surprising me.


Astonishing roadside spectacles abound my drive en route to my destination to Palm Springs. Driving on the road with these windmills, it was as if I was being transported to a parallel universe.

I only figured I’d avoid the heat in “high desert” and so I went during winter season. I didn’t dream of White December. However, the Aerial Tram in Palm Springs ascended me with an elevation of 8,516 feet. Ahoy! I was standing on the snowcapped mountains I used to only stare at from the windows.


Being from a tropical island, I was never a fan of cold weather but the next thing I knew, I was hiking on it feeling like an adventurer to an episode of National Geographic Channel.πŸ˜€ A true unique experience, for me at least.
The end result is a grand overlook of Coachella Valley in five different spots.
Coachella Valley, I say? No worry, I came down to snoop around for some more. Coachella Valley Preserve seems to have answers, I assumed.
I was then greeted with forests of palm trees in a place named Palm Springs. Fancy that!
Coachella Valley Preserve offers a good number of hiking trails. I dashed the easiest one as the night was tapping me on the shoulder, telling me to take a rest.
The next day, I went Downtown for brunch. Marilyn Monroe happened to be waiting patiently for me to photograph her.πŸ˜› I caught her in the most cinematic position.
Downtown Palm Springs centers many events, museums and other attractions. Be sure to look down while walking as Palm Springs has its own version of Walk of Fame, similar to Hollywood but only less glamorized. Be sure to look back up, else you’ll bump into other people and it’s not going to be pretty like Marilyn.πŸ˜€ I have pictures of the stars and names but I’m feeling selfish, and this post is getting longer and longer.
I then continued on to embrace my newfangled love for hiking.
Β My destination – Indian Canyon. Not too shabby for a hiking wannabe. Not at all…
During my weekend with Marilyn and the rests of Palm Springs, it was really the time where I think of something deeply – travel is fun and being confined inside a square is not. I urge everyone to just Nike do it from time to time.


  1. This is so cool. Awesome images and Marilyn simply takes your breathe away. My wife wants to check palm springs this year…hope it happens!

  2. Imelda says:

    Gorgeous photos as always, especially of the mountains. Handy that Marilyn waited and posed for you.πŸ˜‰

  3. Lisa at fLVE says:

    Awesome post. Love the hiking photos the most. The rocks formation are beautiful~

  4. djmatticus says:

    Great shots from my backyard. I grew up in the high desert not too far from Palm Springs.

    • rommel says:! Well, you live in such a very nice area of California. I know there will be another time where I come back to this place to explore some more.

      • djmatticus says:

        Have you made it to Joshua Tree yet? Or Death Valley? Both of those are also good winter trips. Or the Imperial Sand Dunes east of San Diego…?

        • rommel says:

          I will be coming up with a Joshua Tree post next month. Kind of an overwhelming location to post. So much to say about the place.

          • djmatticus says:

            Can definitely understand that. I spent several weekends there (once a year for the entire time I was in the boy scouts) when I was younger. It’s amazing how much can be going on in such a desolate place. Looking forward to the pictures and what you have to say about it.

  5. Madhu says:

    Fun post Rommel. Lucky you, to be able to just drive off on a whim to this kind of spectacular landscape! Lokk forward to more ‘star’ postsπŸ™‚

  6. friendlytm says:

    I like your title….with Marilyn! How romantic! I visited Palm Spring several times….for business only. I did visit downtown. Quite a fun place. Your photos are stunning, as always!

  7. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Beautiful landscapes, I can imagine you returned totally relaxed and ready to face the world. Your first Marilyn capture facing the clouds is amazing!
    I’m like you, not a fan of cold and snow but its great for photographyπŸ™‚

    • rommel says:

      No, Gilly, I didn’t.πŸ˜€ It was hard to go back to work routine again. And, I had all these posts I have to compose. Hehe. Going back after the holidays, it felt like everything is going 7 mph.

      Did the snow slow down in your area now?

  8. Connie says:

    I love to take off to Palm Springs from time to time, but I had no idea about the tram! Cool tip. Oh, and I think that is the same Marylin statue that was in Chicago a few years ago, I’m glad she found a more appropriate final resting place like Palm Springs!

  9. muZer says:

    Wow.. Gorgeous pics!

  10. Debra Kolkka says:

    Poor Marilyn, that is a horrible statue of her! Palm Springs, however, looks great.

  11. poppytump says:

    Cable car trip up way high would be fun .
    Marilyn’s hair looks like a Mr Whippy ice creamπŸ˜€

  12. cobbies69 says:

    some really fabulous pictures you have here, almost like being there..:) thanks for the share

  13. Joycelyn says:

    After seeing this, I would love to try hiking… (just worried how heavy my bag will be, lol) Marilyn, as always, is adorable!πŸ™‚

  14. cocomino says:

    What a great place. I would like to walk around.

  15. adinparadise says:

    Fabulous pics, Rommel. Love the Marilyn ones………what an icon she still is after all these years.πŸ™‚
    I was in Palm Springs many years ago, and it was so hot and humid. I couldn’t believe the difference when I got up to the top of that mountain. The cold was just heavenly.

  16. That marilyn statue with the sky as a backdrop…radiates to me an immense amount of freedom! I could really feel that.

  17. Rommel I have been dying to go to the big music festival “Coachella” for many years now; however you’ve portrayed a different kind of “Coachella” and I want to go even more now for its incredible hiking trails and surroundings! Listen, I was never a fan of the winter season myself coming from living right next to the beach in Cebu, but then I fell inlove with snowboarding and it’s an everlasting love from there on… Where there’s snow, I’m in there!

  18. I love the one with the fabulous clouds in the sky. I was thinking of going down there for some sun but I hear it is wetter and colder in San Diego than it is in SF right now

    • rommel says:

      Yup, my hands are freezing right now here in Ventura. I had a meet with another blogger and we didn’t have good sky to accompany our views in Dana Point.
      But right now, I’m loving the thin clouds and orange and sometimes, pinkish sky during sunset/rise these days.πŸ˜€

  19. Kevin Daniel says:

    I just moved to San Luis Obispo, CA. After this post, I’m thinking a trip to Palm Springs may be in order! Great post.

    • rommel says:

      I used to always go to SLO, but only for work. Good nightlife in the downtown area, though. Well, if you do go to Palm Springs, I hope you take some time in hiking trails as there are plenty of highly accessible ones.

  20. elfkat says:

    Next time you can go to the Living Desert Reserve. just watch your feet. They have sidewinders there.

  21. I love the entire Palm Springs and Coachella Valley area. We camp out that way fairly often, but I have never taken the aerial tram. I just can’t quite get over the fear factor!πŸ™‚ I’ve been saying we need to get out and see Marilyn soon…I first read about “her” when she was housed in Chicago, and when I want to visit her before she moves on! Your photos are fantastic! I think the Southern California desert is a treasure and should be enjoyed and preserved well. I hope you’ve inspired others to visit. I am waiting for the weather to warm just a little bit before we go camping again.πŸ™‚

    • rommel says:

      Ow, it would had been a big plus if you could handle your fear to go up the tram. To me, it’s really fun. Hiking is lovely, and the kids would love sliding in snow. If not, yeah, sure lots of outdoorsy activities in Palm Springs.

  22. Beautiful Captures – love Marilyn:) Thanks for sharing – Have a Great One!

  23. Rommel — Nicely done. Good thing you took that spur-of-the-moment trip to the Springs. Love the Marilyn shot with the clouds in the background.

  24. Amy says:

    “…and the road ended up surprising me” — that was said eloquently about your joyful trip! Happy week, Rommel!

  25. shofar says:

    Very nice, I like the scenes and used to enjoy hiking when I was younger with good knees. You got me fooled for a minute. I thought you had a new girl friend named Marilyn! Way to go, Rommel!

    • rommel says:

      I’m going to dread the time when I get bad knees. You know what though, I’d hike with a wheelchair if I had to.πŸ˜€πŸ˜† at the assumption. My affair with Marilyn was a quick one.πŸ˜€

      • shofar says:

        The best and safest hikes for me are at National Parks. Bryce and Zion Nat’l Park and Timpanagos in Utah were my last places to hike. I hiked on all the Hawaiian Islands before I retired from teaching. It’s my partner now who doesn’t want to hike anymore! He’s my poor excuse, not really my knees, but I couldn’t do mountain climbing like you young folks! Just keep sharing your photos, O.K.?!

  26. We saw the Monroe statue up in Chicago before it was relocated to Palm Springs. It’s SO weird to see it in a different environment now.

    And the mountain pics are beautiful, too!

    • rommel says:

      Marilyn was surrounded by tall buildings, eh? It said that there’s a lot of association between Palm Springs and Marilyn Monroe that it made sense to relocate her there.
      Thanks for the input and visit, Randall.

      • My pleasure, and thanks for sharing the photos! And yes, tall buildings were once her companions. She was previously located on the south end of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, next to a rather dull statue of some old local broadcaster I don’t recognize. He was allowed to stay, but Marilyn was sent packing. Go figure.

  27. Wow, great photos! When we were there, Marilyn was nowhere to greet us!

    • rommel says:

      Next time, you’re there. I’ll contact the agents and have her pose for you the exact same way. I’ll let them know you’re in the WP circle.πŸ˜†

  28. I love this especially the windmills and Marilyn.

  29. frizztext says:

    adorable: “with zero plan in mind, I started driving…”

  30. Awesome shots, I love the Marilyn Monroe photos, the mountains and the rock formation.

  31. Bams Triwoko says:

    Such a great weekend ‘date’ with Marilyn Monroe…πŸ™‚
    Awesome post, Rommel…πŸ™‚

  32. LuAnn says:

    Great post Rommel. I love the shots of the desert and the windmills, which I find to be beautiful. I am thrilled by your newfound love of hiking…nothing quite like it! I found Marilyn in downtown Chicago last year. She certainly gets around.πŸ™‚

    • rommel says:

      I had some unique hikes on my recent travels making me love hiking even more.πŸ˜€
      My golly, LuAnn. I was nervous from start to the end during our meet. At some point, I think I needed a plastic bag to breathe into. Hehehe

      • LuAnn says:

        I would have brought a paper bag with me if I had known you might hyperventilate (lol)!πŸ™‚ See, I don’t bite and hopefully you saw that I was a nice enough gal. It was good meeting you Rommel, even if you where a little nervous. My only wish is that the weather would have been more suitable for taking photos. Dana Point is nothing if not a beach town.πŸ™‚

  33. neely wang says:

    ha ha — “just nike do it” — great advice! so true!

  34. eof737 says:

    Your images from the mountain top are amazing.. I take it you wore a coat and then took it off again. Palm Springs is a fascinating place to visit with all those gated communities … But the terrain is fabulous. Wish I’d done that tram/train ride. Next Time! Awesome.πŸ˜‰

  35. apple.e.e-s. says:

    I am dead jealous. I want to see this place too Mel. Beautiful photosπŸ™‚

  36. Sunshine says:

    ohhh, hey, Rommel, be sure when you and WP king meet up, you two do a GIANT WP post together…fabulous headline: First Time Ever! WP King, Island T. and Prince Rommel Extravaganza Photo Shoot!!πŸ™‚
    i must say those palm trees, with the dead palms at the bottom make them look like they have fur or something…haha….but overall, this post is fabulous–as always. BUT this cracked me up: your words…”I have pictures of the stars and names but I’m feeling selfish.” BOOM. that wrapped it up nicely!! *laugh-laugh*

    • rommel says:

      I would love to meet It though I wouldbe very nervous meeting the king.
      Ahihihi… I can’t help not to be nice sometimes.

      • Sunshine says:

        your heart radiates goodness as it shows from your posts…nothing more needed, Rommel. i could not resist the little words that slipped out so carefully there…i loved it!!πŸ™‚

  37. Great post! The pictures are beautiful as always. It is such a great feeling when having no plans an experience turns out so pleasant.

  38. Jo Bryant says:

    what fun Rommel…so where will you hike next I wonder

  39. prem says:

    I was thinking Marilyn must be your gf’s name, hahahah.. you got me here! I am not supposed to go on heights, that’s why I haven’t ventured to this place yet ‘coz I know I would just die from envy for not being able to ride those high trams.😦

    • rommel says:

      Ahihihi … it seems like I fooled a number of people with the title.πŸ™‚ Like I said already, I referenced it to a movie title “My Week With Marilyn”.
      Do you have an actual fear of heights?😦

  40. Anna Marie says:

    Sometimes the best travel adventures are the unplanned spontaneous ones! Sounds like you had a great adventure.

    • rommel says:

      I knew I had to knock down Palms Spring out of my bucket list, but didn’t exactly knew where to go. It turns out Palm Springs to be inching up high on my recommendation list.

  41. When I was in high school in Los Angeles, my mother and I used to drive to Palm Springs for a weekend, occasionally. I haven’t been there for so long now and really miss it. I love that hot, dry air. Your post brings back all those memories.

  42. Fun blog! The desert does get under your skin, does it not? Valley of Fire near Las Vegas is another fun place to be, if you find yourself out of the box again. Happy travels!

  43. Rommel, super shot of wind turbines–don’t see the back east. Great concept, yet I would not like to be a bird in that neck of the “woods”.

  44. dhonour says:

    Great photos! (Although I have to admit, the giant Marilyn Monroe kind of creeps me out a bit). The landscape with the wind turbines reminds me a lot of Denmark, where I am currently living. There is something strangely majestic about row after row of them, turning resolutely in the wind.

    • rommel says:

      The traditional Denmark windmills are, of course, the original and will always be popular. Glad We at least have one general area here in California where we can see Denmark windmill.

  45. b00kreader says:

    I absolutely loved your windmill picture. It looks as if they are manufacturing the clouds rather than harnessing energy.

  46. It’s great when youhead out with no expectations and it all works oout with no worries.

  47. Paula says:

    What a trip!!! And such breathtaking views!!!

  48. kz says:

    love, love, love this post❀

  49. LOVE the desert. The way it changes from sunup to sundown… breathtaking.

  50. sued51 says:

    Nice shots, Rommel. Did you fly into Palm Springs? I always find it a bit hairy (at least coming from the East) as you start to descend before you can see anything but mountains…it looks like you are going to crash right into them, then all of a sudden you see this beautiful oasis…

  51. […] prime Magnificent Mile spot and now resides in Palm Springs, California, as I was surprised to see on another blog a few months […]

  52. the kathydocuments says:

    Palm Springs during Winter is ideal!

  53. I am literally there as we speak! Beautiful place! You captured it well

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