Sweet Home Utah – Pt. 1

utahYeah, I know … Lynard Skynard says its Alabama but I want to talk about Utah.   In 75 years on this planet, I never imagined I would live in Utah.   But here we are, living in the lovely community of Daybreak, Utah, and I guess it’s home.  If you been following along with my whining over the last several posts, you know that we moved here to be near our grandkids three years ago but their parents are taking them to a new life in Texas.  But Utah will likely remain our home … we don’t have another move in us.  So I thought I ought to say a few words about living in Utah. First off, let me say it is a beautiful state.  We can see the Wasatch Mountains from our front windows and whether they are topped with snow in the winter or illuminated by the setting sun in summer, they are almost enough to make me forget how much I love the oceans.  There are national parks and preserves all around us,  And Daybreak is a modern community with varied housing of many colors and frequent community events, like concerts in Downtown Daybreak.  We love our brand new house in the over 55 community of Springhouse Village and we own it outright because our California house had so much equity.

If you mention you are from Utah, the first thing most people think of is Mormons … either are you one or how is it living among them.  The first question is answered by the Mezuzah on our front door post.  The second has two sides.  When we moved here, there were only 7 houses around us, roughly half occupied by LDS members.   They have been friendly and helpful neighbors.  Do they stick together or exclude us?  Only to the extent that they know each other from spending hours in church together and that they avoid events where alcohol is served.   But in the interest of honesty, I have to say that if you are former Mormon who’s left the church, your experience might be different.   You might find yourself shunned by some people who you used to think of as friends and find your kids excluded from neighborhood activities.  That is part of the reason my daughter’s family is moving to Texas, so I guess I could hold that against the church but I don’t.   It is my experience that every religion has hypocrites who think that Love Thy Neighbor extends only to those who believe as you do.  And, by the way, only about half of Utah’s residents are Mormons.

Getting around the Salt Lake area is interesting, at first.   As someone who has always lived on a coast, I determined East and West by where the ocean is.  Here?  No ocean.  And mountains to the East and West, the Wasatch on the East and the Oquirrh on the West.   Then there’s the cockamamie grid naming system for the roads.   Believe it or not, the street numbers tell you how many blocks E, W, N, or S you are of the LDS temple in Salt Lake.  So, as you take you first drive here, your GPS may offer an instruction like:  In 1.2 miles turn south on South 13800 West.  Adding to the confusion, some streets have names, too, and your GPS may use the names.  AND.  Locals giving direction refer to South 13800 West as 138.  You figure it out eventually.  The other oddity is what I call freeways with stoplights … two major 6 lane highways with 70 mph speed limits AND intersections with traffic signals.  Every place I’ve lived there have been crazy drivers … the specialty here is running red lights.  If I watch in my rear view mirror, I’ll see three or four vehicles come on through the red.  Add that to freeways with stoplights and you have some nasty collisions.  But compared to getting around Southern California, its a breeze, as long as you are careful.  And if public transit is your cup of transportation, Trax, the light rail system, can carry you around Salt Lake City and its suburbs for a very reasonable fare.

So, Utah is a lovely state with lots of nice communities, beautiful sites to visit and a reasonable cost of living.  It is easy to get around if you watch out for red light runners and adapt to the grid highway system.  And the people seem nice, unless perhaps, you are a retired Mormon.  Next post, I’ll talk about the culture and things such as shopping, entertainment and eateries.

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