1. Overpack, because you love food and that’s what you do.
2. Bring along an extra kid and an extra dog. Because that’s what you do.
3. Feel slight panic set in as you pull into the camp spot just this side of nowhere because your oil light (the bad, scary one) starts flashing right as you get there.
4. Check the oil. Curse inwardly or outwardly, doesn’t matter, because the dipstick is DRY.
5. Curse some more because you had your oil changed exactly one week ago.
6. Pray for cell phone signal and call your personal rescue team because you’ve now reached the limits of your mechanic skills, cuss words and all.
7. Make arrangements for rescue the next day. Because it’s late and you were already planning on camping. And you’re an Alaskan girl.
8. Set up camp, complete with a half-baked tarp cover and a very sad little fire. Because you’re not the *perfect* Alaskan girl.
9. Enjoy campfire-cooked dinner and dessert. Realize that you did not over- pack because, contrary to popular belief, teenage girls eat just as much as teenage boys.
10. Realize your crew is the bear bait of the little campground because you’re the only ones tent-camping. Review bear spray usage with kids.
11. Relax lake side, watch the changing light and reflections, take pictures, write a bit. Breathe. Because all of this – God and nature and beauty – is bigger than broken vehicles.
12. Sleep in a tent full of three people, three dogs, and stuff. Because that’s clearly what they meant when they diabolically slapped a label on it that said “3-Man Tent.”
13. Wake up every time the dogs growl. Because now you’ve given yourself bear-anoia. And a small-caliber pistol doesn’t phase a bear.
14. Wake up at an ungodly hour, because apparently teens don’t sleep in when you actually want them to, and discover your bra strap mysteriously broke while you were not wearing it and while you were sleeping. Laugh. Because life.
15. Make breakfast, periodically pulling at your broken bra, wishing you had Irish cream for your coffee. Because camping.
16. Kayak for a bit while waiting to be rescued. Because kayaking. Also, see #11 above.
17. Experience a somewhat tricky rescue, including multiple trips for the rescuer and barely getting the vehicle (topped by a kayak) on the trailer. Because life. And because family rocks.
18. Return to town and call on parts to discover the one you need has to be ordered from out of state. Because Alaska.
19. Rescuer fixes car with substition. Because he’s determined, might have witnessed a frustrated tear or two, and because Alaskans make things work.
20. After many prayers and almost as many cuss words, return home, run a bath, write a ridiculously long post, and find that Irish cream. BECAUSE.