ALTON — A raindrop falling into the Mississippi River headwaters in Minnesota would take six weeks to make its way to the Alton region. It is another 40-day trip to the Gulf Coast. That is just the beginning of the story for travel photographer and author Gayle Harper, of Springfield, Mo., who followed a theoretical raindrop down the 2,400-mile length of the Mississippi River in a journey of a lifetime for her book, “Roadtrip with a Raindrop.”
Harper will visit Greater Alton on April 24-25 to discuss her journey, share her tales of adventure and bring the spirit of the mighty river to life during a series of public appearances that are free and open to river fans of all ages. She will present a multimedia look at her journey and hold book signings. “Roadtrip with a Raindrop” has been described as a “celebration of America and of the simple moments that make life an adventure.”
A book signing will be held at the Grafton Winery from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, April 24. She will also appear at the Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower in Hartford at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 25, for a book-signing and presentation. She will then journey to The Nature Institute in Godfrey for a presentation from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
During her own roadtrip with a raindrop, Harper said it was the people she met along the way, from the north woods to the southern plantations, and all points in between, that inspired her on a daily basis.
“The people of the journey are the soul of it,” Harper said. “They were welcoming, inclusive, playful, curious, colorful and authentic.”
“The Mississippi River is the aorta of our country,” Harper said. “It is essential to our ecology and our economy and is deeply imbedded 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 available for sale at the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, 200 Piasa St., Alton and online at www.gayleharper.com.