We hit Palm Springs/ Desert a lot every year and it's only a few hours of freeway driving (XM radio helps) in the car with a stop at In'N'Out Burger at the foot of the Grapevine, on the 5. mid way from Monterey
Laval Road is the place.
Of course I have a fast car!
I checked on Orbitz and it is actually faster for me to drive considering the requirement to be at the airport early, TSA screening, and luggage wait times. Not to mention cramped seats and no amenities.