I used to live in Utah. I lived there for over 13 years.
A couple of months ago I moved back to Connecticut.
There are a lot of differences between the two states, some fairly obvious (Connecticut generally has more humidity, while Utah generally has more Mormons), and some that might not be very apparent to anyone that hasn’t spent time in both states. Here are a few that have impacted me recently:
There are bad drivers in both states. There are terrible drivers in both states. But they are bad/terrible in slightly different ways, at least in my experience. In Utah, the bad drivers are usually just dumb. In Connecticut, the bad drivers are not just dumb, they are often aggressively dumb.
Driving in Utah, I was never honked at for coming to a full and complete stop at a stop sign. In the short time I’ve been back in Connecticut, that has happened twice. And I wasn’t just sitting at the stop sign forever with no one coming. I stopped, looked, and was just about to move forward less than a second later, and the person behind me beeps their horn. One of those people had been tailgating me, so I wasn’t too surprised. Then, after the stop sign, this gentleman passes me (on a narrow, twisty road that no one should be passing anyone, ever), almost clips me cutting in front of me, then slams on his brakes. All so he could turn off said road a few yards later. I’m pretty sure he flipped me off too.
That type of driving is pretty much par for course on the freeways. Driving the speed limit in Connecticut makes me feel like I should have my hazard lights on.
Another difference between Connecticut and Utah are the street signs.
In this category, Utah is the clear winner. Utah has streets signs for pretty much every street, at every intersection. They are in predictable places, and many for the major streets are large and easy to read.
In Connecticut, you may or may not get a street sign. At some intersections, only one street is marked. Sometimes none. In some places, the signs are higher than you would expect them to be, and on the opposite side of the street than you would expect them to be. In some places, the street sign is placed immediately behind another sign, or a telephone pole, so it is impossible to read.
Also, the streets out here in Connecticut are like a maze.
I’m pretty sure some roads intersect with themselves. Or they end, and going straight through an intersection puts you on a different road altogether. Or they don’t end, but you have to turn left or right instead of going straight to stay on it. Or three roads all merge into one, and then may or may not split off at different times. For example, Old Toll Road is also Route 80. If you’re driving west, Old Toll Rd changes to Foxon Rd, but it’s still Route 80. Then it intersects with Route 22. So you are driving on Foxon Rd, which is Route 80, which is also Route 22. Then Route 22 splits off. Then Foxon Rd turns into Foxon Blvd. Then Foxon Blvd turns into Middletown Ave. I think Route 80 ends somewhere in there. Maybe.
Now, most roads in the Salt Lake Valley have both a number coordinate and a street name, and it can be confusing if you’re new to the area, but there is a system. A method to the madness. In Connecticut, it’s just madness.
I was much more used to the roads out here in Connecticut before I moved to Utah. I’ll probably get used to them again at some point. For now, I’m just really glad I have Google Maps on my smart phone.
I wasn’t very long in Utah where I could, at least in the Salt Lake Valley, usually get to an address I’d never been before (or at least close) without a map or directions. Some of the individual neighborhoods are a little wonky, but the entire state of Connecticut is just wonky.
I know there are historical and political reasons behind the differences in road organization, I get it. But it is what it is.
However, I would like to add that when it comes to road maintenance, Utah and Connecticut seem to be pretty much even. Some roads are great. Some roads are okay. And a lot of roads look (and feel) like there is more pothole than road.
Connecticut has more trees.
Maybe not in total, If you counted every tree in Utah and every tree in Connecticut, Utah might win. Even though a lot of it is desert, or semi arid, it is a very big state, and it does have trees. But just driving around Connecticut, there are trees everywhere. And I don’t mean just a few trees here and there in yards, or trees in parks. I mean a lot of trees. Where you can’t see anything except trees and more trees. Sometimes a rock or two. But mostly trees. And this is in winter, when these trees don’t have any leaves. Once they grow leaves again, you won’t even be able to see the trees.
I am looking forward to that.
Utah has mountains.
Connecticut has a few places that are called mountains.
By comparison, the tallest mountain in Connecticut is called Bear Mountain. Its peak stands 2,323 ft above sea level. The highest elevation in Connecticut is 2,380 ft. This is actually on a slope of a mountain that peaks in Massachusetts. The tallest mountain is Utah is called King’s peak, with an elevation of 13,527 ft above sea level.
Now, it might not be fair to compare highest elevations, seeing as Utah’s lowest elevation is 2,350 ft above sea level. In other words, the lowest point in Utah is only 30 feet lower than the highest point in Connecticut.
But still. Utah has mountains. A lot of them. And all the peaks and valleys and cliffs and canyons that go with them. They are often breathtakingly beautiful. If I could have spent the entire 13 and half years I was there exploring them, it would not have been long enough.
Connecticut has the ocean.
Okay, technically it’s the Long Island Sound, and not the Atlantic Ocean, but still. It’s basically the ocean. And it is amazing and gorgeous, even on days that are not particularly pretty. It’s still cold out, and I’m already wishing I had a boat. This feeling will only get stronger as the weather gets warmer.
There are other differences between Utah and Connecticut that I could bring up, but for now, there’s only one other that I want to mention.
In Utah, I met a lot of awesome people. I will miss them, I will not forget them, and I wish them all the best. At least we still have Facebook.
There are a lot of awesome people in Connecticut. However, some of the awesome people in Connecticut are family. Parents, siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews (some of whom I’ve only met for the first time since moving out of Utah). Friends I’ve known since high school or longer. People that I’ve seen once or twice in over a decade (or less. or not at all), that I’ve been able to hang out with, reconnect with in person. Other people I haven’t seen since being back, but I now have the option of reconnecting with, because we live a couple of towns (or streets) away, instead of a 3 to 4 day drive.
That’s hard to beat. And an opportunity I plan on taking full advantage of.