Chasin’ Tomorrow

Trevor Hardwick’s Classically-Styled KW
Text by Daniel J. Linss Photos by Colby Williams

Some people just have an old soul. Such is the case for Trevor Hardwick of Stanwood, WA. One of his missions in life, in addition to sharing his Christian testimony and helping others to connect with their creator, is to keep those “glory days” of trucking alive – the 1970s and 1980s. In those days, trucks were made of metal and were cool, and truckers were the real deal, taught by their dad, who lived and breathed the trucking lifestyle. Modeling much of his life (the good parts) from his hero, his dad, Trevor (40) is a young man with an old man’s soul, and much of that retro attitude and style is reflected in his classically-influenced three-tone green Kenworth, which he built in memory of his dad, to go “Chasin’ Tomorrow” every day.

Born in Everett, WA on March 31, 1977, Trevor is the third of six kids. His grandfather was a trucker, which influenced his dad, Michael (AKA Smokey) Hardwick, to become a trucker, too. At 16 years old, Trevor’s dad grew a beard to look older and convinced an owner operator with Mayflower to let him join him in the truck to help drive and load. At the time, he didn’t even have a license! Smokey spent a year on the road with this guy, hauling household goods and learning the ropes, in an International Transtar II cabover – which must have been pretty crowded, because Trevor’s dad was 6’-8” tall.

Smokey was the epitome of a typical “chicken truck” driver from the 1970s, and a rough and tough biker type – and he was also Trevor’s hero! Chasing trucking jobs and being a “free-spirited” couple, Trevor’s parents moved a lot. In fact, he never went to the same school for any longer than three years. While growing up, they lived all over western Washington, Utah, California and Texas. This helped Trevor to be independent and flexible, which are both good things to be if you are an owner operator.

While Smokey was out trucking, Trevor’s mom Cheryl raised the kids and did all sorts of jobs. Over the years she was a heavy equipment operator, a dump truck driver, a truck driving instructor, a telephone operator and more. Eventually, as the kids got older, Cheryl started going out on the road, but she didn’t drive much at first – she was more there to provide a second logbook – they called it a “super single” back then. Eventually, she began driving more, and near the end, she drove more than him. After pulling reefers for most of his life, Smokey switched to trade show exhibits and other high value freight. Had he known how much easier it would be, he would have switched sooner.

Like many kids growing up in a trucking family, Trevor started steering the truck from his dad’s lap and moving trucks around the yard at an early age. Trevor has always had a soft spot for Freightliner cabovers – probably because his dad had one – and while still in high school, he bought and built his first one to drive to school. After graduating in 1995, he immediately went to get his CDL, taking his driving test in a Mack Superliner “bedbug” truck that had a 356-inch wheelbase, a 150-inch sleeper and two sticks. The instructor was so impressed with the truck and the sleeper, he didn’t even notice when Trevor hit a curb and made a few other small mistakes (or he just overlooked them).

Once he got his license, Trevor started delivering bottled milk for a local farm in a bobtail truck to nearby stores. After a few months of that, he went trucking with his dad. In an effort to separate himself from his dad and be out on his own, he took a loading/unloading job at UPS, thinking it would lead to a driving job, but when that didn’t happen quick enough, he left and then started driving a side dump, running pit to pit, for Steven Gibson Sr. He did this from 1997 to 2001, at which point his dad, who’s business was expanding, bought two more trucks and put Trevor in one and his brother in another. Now, running coast to coast, Trevor was really stretching his legs – until September 2001.

While making a delivery in Manhattan on the morning of September 11, Trevor actually heard the first plane hit the World Trade Center. At the time he didn’t know what it was, but he heard it. A few minutes later, when the second plane hit, all hell broke loose. All of the bridges to get out of Manhattan were being closed, so Trevor headed to the Throgs Neck bridge and crossed over to Long Island. Heading east until he found a good place to stop in Bohemia, New York, he sat there for the next three days. With terrible cell service (many of the cell towers for that area were located atop the Twin Towers) and feeling cut-off from the rest of the world and his family, he sat and watched fighter jets patrol the city – it was pretty terrifying. He decided right then that he did not want to be trucking this far from home and told his dad to just sell the truck.

Once he got home, from 2001 to 2010, Trevor drove for a string of well-known folks in his area like Brian Van Laar, Steve Chandler and Gary Parrish. These people put him in some pretty amazing trucks, like a numbered 1987 Pete 359 long hood, a Viper Red 1981 Kenworth A-model built just for him, and a 1999 Pete 379. Hauling everything from produce to rolls of paper, Trevor was doing well, but it was time for him to be out on his own. Buying an iconic cabover from Brandon Smith in North Carolina, Hardwick Motor Freight was born in 2010.

The 1978 Freightliner cabover was painted Petty Blue with white stripes and had an 86-inch cab, a 400 Big Cam Cummins, a 13-speed, a 240-inch wheelbase, and an air-bagged front end. It was a cool ride. Things went great – for a couple months – until Trevor got hit by a car on I-5 while traveling through Seattle. Although it was deemed a “no fault” accident, it was clear the car hit him, but that didn’t seem to matter. Thankfully, his insurance company paid to have the truck fixed, and while Kevin Pickett and Casey DuBeau were at it, he thought, why not paint it a new color! The new ride, painted black with green stripes outlined in silver, made its debut in April of 2012.

Hauling potted plants for a nursery all over the west throughout the summer and then containers for a few months in the fall, Trevor started dreading the thought of driving this old cabover through the winter, so he traded it in for a 2005 Kenworth W900. Although this truck featured owner operator specs (an 86-inch Studio sleeper, 285-inch wheelbase, 475 Acert Cat and an 18-speed), it was nothing fancy or custom – but it was very comfortable! Hauling for Kevin Harrison, Trevor started pulling a spread-axle Great Dane reefer he bought from Kevin’s dad. While doing this from November 2011 until early 2014, Trevor sold the red Kenworth in 2012 and bought a 2010 blue Pete 389 with black stripes from Tim Stockwell out of Idaho – this truck was built by Clint Moore and featured in our February 2010 issue.

Unfortunately, Kevin Harrison went out of business in 2014, but, fortunately, he allowed Trevor to continue servicing his customers, but now directly. Although Trevor has gone through a lot of trucks over the years, most of the time he was either upgrading or trying to keep up with the impending CARB regulations. Such was the case when he decided to upgrade to a brand-new truck – the one you see on our cover and centerfold (and these pages) this month.

Not knowing how long it would take to sell his blue Peterbilt, Trevor put it up for sale and, surprisingly, sold it less than a month. Now, he had his new truck on order, but it wasn’t going to be built (or ready to run) for several months, so he had to rent a Penske truck – which he ended up driving for a grueling six months! But it was worth the wait.

Wanting a classically-styled Kenworth with an older Aerodyne sleeper, Trevor went to Cory Henry at Kenworth Northwest in Yakima, WA to order it. Trevor knew exactly what he wanted, because he had already dreamed-up the paint scheme and many of the details, and rescued a 1994 Aerodyne sleeper “out of the weeds” near a friend’s barn, which was ready to go. Cory helped him spec out the truck just right, making the process pretty easy for Trevor.

The 2017 W900L was ordered with a small flattop sleeper, a 295-inch wheelbase, a 525 Cummins ISX with an 18-speed and 3.37 rear gears, and the signature three-color green paint scheme, which Trevor created, based on an old KW scheme they no longer offered. Featuring Dark Green Effect, Light Green Effect and Green Metallic Effect, all these colors are fairly similar, as Trevor did not want the stripes to be too loud or obnoxious. When it was all said and done, Kenworth liked the scheme so much, they now offer it to their customers – and it’s called the Hardwick Paint Scheme!

Once the truck arrived at Kevin Pickett’s shop, the first thing they did was pull off the flattop sleeper and install the 60-inch Aerodyne. During this process, they enlarged the opening in the back of the cab and made it a Unibilt system. The truck had been ordered with black diamond tuck and gray buttons inside, to match the interior, which was still in great condition, in the old sleeper. Once it was all together, which proved to be a more difficult job than expected, it really looked good. The next part was hard, too – painting the sleeper and the stripes to match the cab perfectly. With Trevor doing most of the taping himself, Casey DuBeau once again did an amazing job on the paint.

Doing some fabrication work to the exterior, Kevin air-bagged the front end and then installed an 18-inch tapered bumper. Next, he made the top mounts for the aluminum rear half-fenders, while Jeff Barnes built the bottom brackets, and then Casey painted them green with stripes to match the scheme on the truck. Kevin also did some fabrication magic to the rear of the frame rails and the back cross-member, smoothing them all out and rounding the corners, making it look like one solid piece, then mounted a painted rear tail plate with Dual Revolution lights.

With the “heavy lifting” now done, it was time to start adding accessories. Kevin added 7-inch stack tips, more Trux Dual Revolution lights (the ones on the back have sequencers so they blink in a sequential pattern), and five bullet-style cab lights. They also added breather lights and two rows of six load lights on each side of the back of the sleeper. Casey painted the DEF tank, the fuel tanks and the visor. Kevin also made a custom deck plate, with a hidden panel covering a sunken air and electrical connection box, and then Casey painted that, as well.

Inside the cab is amazing, too. Like the exterior, Trevor did not go too crazy, as he wanted the truck to be functional, but he did enough to give it a lot of “wow” factor. The steering wheel was painted green, along with much of the dash, and then he ordered some super-heavy-metallic drum wrap material, and used that to cover some of the dash panels. The green glitter ball shifter came from his dad’s truck and, for the two lower dash panels, he used “engine turned” pieces of aluminum for that 70s vibe. All of his window covers and the sleeper boot were custom made and hand-stitched using green “diner vinyl” by Chrysta Colebourn and Jill Sonsteby of Sew Fine Vintage Upholstery in Arlington, WA.

For a final touch, Trevor had his lettering guy, Tracy DeYoung, incorporate a picture of his dad into the tint on the back window. You can’t see it from the outside, but from the inside, there he is, plain as day, smiling in his biker garb with his arms outstretched. Trevor loves that photo, and having his dad back there gives him some comfort, as he passed away in 2012.

Behind the truck is a matching 2004 polished stainless steel 48-foot Great Dane spread-axle reefer with a 2012 Thermo King SB200 unit, making him compliant with CARB (Communist Assoc. of Regulatory Bureaucrats) for just a little bit longer. With nine lights down the top and bottom on each side, along with seven across the top on the back and eleven Dual Revolution lights below, it also has painted hinges and hardware, quilted doors on the back, along with a painted aluminum filler panel and four “thank you” plates, honoring and thanking Casey’s Body Shop, Cory Henry, Pickett Repair and 10-4 Magazine (Trevor has been one of our contributors for the past ten years).

In addition to being a one-truck owner operator, which is how Trevor likes it, he also has a bunch of show trucks and project trucks, including his brown 1981 Freightliner COE with gold stripes (modeled after one of his dad’s old trucks from the 70s and featured on one of our past 10-4 t-shirts); a 1987 Freightliner cabover; a 1983 Freightliner FLC (a future project); a few parts trucks; and an old show trailer, covered with faded murals, that was previously owned by Richard Crane, who owned a truck driving school and had a small fleet of amazing brown show trucks in the 1980s that were adorned with gold-plated accents, among other things. He found this neat old trailer a few years back and realized the colors and stripes almost exactly matched the ones on his brown cabover, so he bought it for shows, fun and sentimental value. He even got a gold-plated fifth wheel with the trailer (it was inside when he bought it)!

Always giving his trucks funny names to go along with their number, this latest KW is his eleventh truck, so he decided to call it Chapter 11 (because it almost broke him), and the trailer he calls Verse 11. His last truck was called Perfect 10, and the trailer was known as Another Perfect 10. As a tribute to his dad, Trevor had “Chasin’ Tomorrow – In Memory of Smokey Hardwick” put on the trailer’s back door. A stolen line from an old Creedence Clearwater Revival song (Hey Tonight), which his dad had on one of his trucks in the early 1990s, Smokey used to say, “Chasin’ tomorrow tonight – isn’t that just exactly what trucking is all about!”

Married since 1999 to his wife Alicia, the couple have no children, but both consider their 18 nieces and nephews to be like their kids. Alicia processes insurance claims for Premier Blue Cross, and has for almost the past 20 years. When Trevor is out on the road, he can be sure that Alicia is safe thanks in part to their 200-pound Great Dane named Andy. His mother Cheryl still lives right next door, so that is nice, too. When home, Trevor spends most of his time working on the trucks, hanging out with Alicia and other family members, and going to church at Calvary Chapel. He used to be more involved with their children’s ministry, but these days, time is harder to come by, so he just helps out when he can. Both strong Christian believers, Trevor and Alicia are not afraid to talk to people about their faith or offer encouragement and hope to those who might need it.

In addition to thanking Cory Henry, Casey DuBeau and Kevin Pickett for all their help with this project, Trevor also wanted to thank Alicia, who busted a lot of knuckles working on this green KW, Steven Gibson, for giving him the Aerodyne sleeper, which was buried in the weeds next to his barn for years before Trevor chopped it out (literally) and rescued it, and all of us at 10-4 Magazine, for giving him a creative outlet for his writing and drawing (and deep thinking), and for helping him become a bit of a celebrity in the trucking world. We at 10-4 wanted to thank Colby Williams of Fueled Photography for taking all of the pictures for this month’s cover feature. We just couldn’t make Trevor wait for us to come up to Washington any longer, so we let Colby do it – and he did an amazing job – going to several different locations with Trevor over a two-day period.

Besides his uncle David, who lives in Missouri and drives for Prime, Trevor does not see any other family members as having an interest in trucking, so this family tradition might die with him – he hopes not, but that’s how it’s looking. These days, Trevor hauls seafood and other refrigerated items between Seattle and San Francisco, and gets to be home every weekend, which he likes. If you happen to see Trevor out there “Chasin’ Tomorrow” don’t be afraid to approach him or talk to him – he has a great sense of humor and loves to talk about trucks, or whatever else you might have in

About Daniel J. Linss - Editor

Daniel J. Linss has been with 10-4 Magazine since the beginning in September of 1993 and has been the Editor and Art Director since March of 1994. Over the years, he has also become one of the main photographers for 10-4 and is well-known for his insightful cover feature articles and honest show reports. Married for over 25 years with three children, Daniel operates a marketing and production company (Daniel Designs) which produces 10-4 Magazine each and every month from his office in Squaw Valley, CA.