My teenage daughter and I had been talking about taking a cross-country fishing trip for a couple of years, but life always seemed to intervene. Last summer, I was determined to make it happen, and just as determined to use it as a tool to show Bella how amazing fishing could be, how it could open doors to new places and offer familiarity and comfort even when you’d never been somewhere or met someone before. Flyfishing has been part of my life since I was barely older than a toddler and, like music and skateboarding, was one of those things that had always been there for me and helped me get through thick and thin. I was sure that combining the thrill of a road trip with the Zen of stalking fish with a fly rod would capture her heart as well, and so late last July we set off, accompanied by our dog, Basil, on a 5,000-mile journey chasing something far more elusive than mountain trout.

Of course, I should’ve realized chasing something only makes it harder to catch.

I, for one, was excited to be on the road finally. Our truck was packed to the brim with everything from bikes to boxes of brand-new fishing gear for Bella. A year of plotting and planning was finally coming to fruition and my foot was heavy on the gas eager to get out west, leave Cape Cod and its summer traffic behind and teach my daughter to fish in some of the greatest rivers on earth. I also have to admit to being relieved I was lucky enough to have a daughter with great taste in music, so there was none of the familial angst that can overshadow musical choices on road trips…

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