Gayle Harper at DCC

Travel Photographer/Author Shares 90-Day Road Trip, Keeping Pace with a Raindrop on the Mississippi

When Gayle Harper learned that a raindrop falling into the headwaters of the Mississippi would travel the River for 90 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico, she knew immediately that her project of a lifetime had appeared.

She made a 90-day road trip along the nearly 2,400-mile course of the Mississippi, while keeping pace with a raindrop called “Serendipity.” She was offered lodging, often in places unique to the heritage of each region. There was a fishermen’s cabin in the north woods, a trendy downtown loft, a tugboat converted to a B&B, a plantation mansion, a sharecropper’s cabin – and even an entire 30-room mansion!

She wandered back roads without plan, meeting people in farm fields, on their porches, in cafés, even while stopped for road construction, who invited her into their lives. She went to dances, birthday parties, a wedding, a powwow, neighborhood barbeques and festivals. She was invited home to dinner, to meet friends and relatives and onto boats of all sizes, from a canoe to a towboat.

“The people of this journey,” says Harper, “are the soul of it. They were welcoming, inclusive, playful, curious, colorful and authentic. There was two-year-old Hazel, who plopped down beside me to show me her green shoes, and 87-year-old Marshall Bouldin III, who moved me to tears when we talked about art. There was a north woods adventurer, a Southern Belle, a “river rat,” a Delta Blues man and a pixie-like nun. ”

“The Mississippi River is the aorta of our country,” says Harper, “it is essential to our ecology and our economy and it is deeply embedded in our history and our very identity. I watched it grow from a fragile stream into a massive force of nature, yet its essence is always the same.”

Roadtrip with a Raindrop is a celebration of America and of the simple moments that make life an adventure. In its 240 pages are 55 stories, with nearly 200 full-color photographs. Together, the words and images invite us to leave our agendas behind, to travel at the pace of a raindrop and to rediscover the fine art of letting life happen!

The book is an Award Winner in Foreword Review’s INDIEFAB “Book of the Year,” in the Travel category. It has also won The Clarion Award from the National Association of Women in Communications.


BOOK DETAILS: Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi River,Gayle Harper,hardcover, 240 pages;$39.95. Available at, also at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Acclaim Press.