Life is unraveling on golf writer Dodson-his much-loved father has died (written about poignantly in Final Rounds, 1996), now his wife wants a divorce-so to blow a little clean air through his spiritual fuel lines, he heads west on a camping/fishing trip with his daughter. Dodson only gets to take one of his two kids--Maggie, ""seven going on fifteen"" while brother Jack spends the summer with his mother, denizens, all, of ""the Brave New World of loving coparenting."" Dodson and Maggie loaded their 10-year-old truck with camping equipment, plenty of junk food, and their 14-year-old dog, Amos. It was to be a footloose journey-destination unknown, somewhere out West-with good fishing as their mantra (Maggie had recently become a fly-fishing adept), the campgrounds chosen by serendipity. But Dodson isn't really a laid-back fellow: He's wound tight as a clock; he is hyperattentive to his daughter; he is a fussbudget and a worry wart and a know-it-all. Betwixt hitting various fishing venues, Maggie hits Dad with all sorts of precocious question-""Do you, like, believe in miracles? ""What's a Ghost Dance? ""What's a prude?""-and Dodson dispenses bushels of concise, thoughtful, accessible answers, as if reading from an index card set of accumulated wisdom, never at a loss to explain or enlighten, always with the mot juste. It all feels rehearsed, dreamed up after the fact, and the spontaneity of the trip (which was to be its leitmotif), not to mention its credibility, goes to hell in a basket. Dodson writes that they had a fine time, took in lots of historical and contemporary pleasures, successfully turned plenty of philosophical turf, became ever more intimate. Readers will likely suspect the fluidness of it all, particularly under the trying circumstances.