He doesn't like to brag, but Harry Hardman has been around the block a few times.
And not only Utah blocks. The 65-year-old Payson resident has driven buses to 48 states since he went into the business 37 years ago."I never planned to go into transportation," Hardman said. "It was an accident."
Hardman was looking for work after World War II when he learned about a taxicab company for sale in Nephi. The company was "99 percent failed," and with the shortage of cars after the war, Hardman was sure people would need his service.
But the auto industry recovered quickly, and Hardman had to look for another niche to fill. He found it in busing.
"Our first `bus' was a Ford station wagon with room for seven. We bused people from Geneva Steel."
Today his company, Utah Valley Transit, has 36 charter buses and has taken Utahns to nearly every state in the union.
Until recently, his pet project was taking Utah County residents to the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City to do genealogical research.
"We would leave Payson every Wednesday at 5:45 a.m., then stop in Salem, Spanish Fork, Springville, Provo, Orem and Lehi. We got to Salt Lake at 8 a.m. and came home at 4 p.m."
Hardman said he never made much money off the run, even losing money some years, but it was great to help people who would have no other way to pursue their interest. The run was discontinued recently due to lack of interest.
Hardman said it's great to "have millions of miles under your belt." If he had to choose his career again, he would chose the same one, he said.
In recent years, he has spent most of his time managing the business, but he can still "fill in for drivers, rebuild an engine, change a tire or paint a bus" if the need arises.
His three children grew up seeing what hard work was required of Hardman and his wife, Shirley, so chose other fields, he said. But Hardman wouldn't trade his life for any other, especially now that he can sleep in past 5:45 a.m. And there is even time for occasional vacations to get away from the business.
So, what kind of vacations does Hardman choose to forget driving and buses?
"We take road trips. We drive to different states in a bus we converted to a mobile home."