My Grandparents’ Strange Desert Home

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The freeway east out of Los Angeles leads into the suburbs that speckle the Inland Empire, passes through green hills, and eventually swings by the monolithic Morongo Casino. This marks the passage into desert, where the road begins a slight decline into the Coachella Valley, flanked on either side by a forest of spinning wind turbines.

This is the route I’ve driven every family holiday and birthday for the past seven years, ever since my grandparents, tired of their increasingly crowded Arcadia neighborhood, packed up and moved into a brand new …