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The mall was a modest collection of about twenty-five different outlets. Adam and Chad had never done any "serious" camping before, so they let Charlie make the decisions, for she was not only familiar with the equipment, but her father used to be a salesman at a store that did nothing else but outfit people for the outdoors. By the time Charlie had finished, everyone's stomachs were ready for dinner.

"I think we'd better stay in Dawson for the night," announced Adam, as they loaded the landrover with the new equipment. "Charlie, if we start out a day later than we planned, will we be late for any hotel reservations?"

"No," she answered. "Our schedule is pretty flexible."

"All right then," said the musician. "After we eat dinner, we'll find a place for the night and get going early tomorrow morning. Does that sound good to you, Chad?"

The boy shrugged and gave a willing nod.

As they traveled into downtown Dawson Creek, Chad pointed out a tall, white object standing in an intersection with three flags anchored to the top.

"That's the Mile Zero Post of the Alaska Highway," informed Chad with an excited grin.

After dinner, Adam checked into a hotel and got two rooms-- one for Kevin and Chad, and the other for himself and Charlie. Before the group parted for the night, Charlie made sure she was carrying out Shirley's wishes.

"Do you have your toothbrush, Chad?" she asked the boy. "How about your pajamas? Oh, and your mom said to make sure I reminded you to change your underwear and socks every day."

At this, Chad turned red from embarrassment.

"Mom still thinks I'm a little kid who couldn't find his way to the bathroom by himself," explained Chad. "I think I can take care of my own socks and underwear without any supervision."

"I'll take your word for it," smiled Charlie. "Goodnight!"

After the couple's door was shut, Charlie collapsed onto the bed while Adam set their bags in the corner of the room.

"I've got to call Shirley and let her know we arrived all right," he said, picking up the satellite phone.

Charlie disappeared into the bathroom and changed into her nightgown. Outside, she could hear Adam talking to his sister.

"Yes, he's all right," Adam was saying.

Charlie opened the bathroom door and walked into the room. Adam smiled playfully at her.

"Yes, I know," he replied. "Yes, I'll be sure to tell her. [pausing] Sis, I really have to go. Charlie needs me for something. Yes, goodnight," he added, hanging up.

Adam reached for her, but Charlie took a step back.

"'Needs me for something'?" she repeated, putting her hands indignantly on her hips. "Could you be any more obvious?"

"Come on," he smiled, "it's only Shirley. She didn't know what I meant, and if she did... so what?"

"Even after all this time," sighed Charlie, sitting down on the bed, "your sister still thinks of me as a child."

"No, she doesn't," replied Adam, sitting down beside her. "I love that nightgown."

"Why do you think I put it on?" she smiled.
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