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Gayle Harper
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Travel Photographer and Author - "Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi River" now available at www.gayleharper.com Tales and photograhs from a 90-day road trip from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the Gulf. Keep pace with a raindrop called "Serendipity," discover America's greatest river and some of her most colorful people!
Travel Photographer and Author - "Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi River" now available at www.gayleharper.com Tales and photograhs from a 90-day road trip from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the Gulf. Keep pace with a raindrop called "Serendipity," discover America's greatest river and some of her most colorful people!

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My favorite shot from the night of the supermoon doesn't include the moon!
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On assignment in the Smoky Mountains. This morning's sunrise moved me to tears.
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This was my gift this morning! I'm on assignment in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Universe smiled!
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On assignment for Southern Traveler in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! The colors are spectacular - what a dream job!
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Thrilled to share this news! I AM HONORED TO BE WORKING FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC!

I've been hired to provide text and photographs for an amazing new travel-planning website about the Mississippi River! Here is a sample

http://mississippiriver.natgeotourism.com/local-voices
Local Voices | The Mississippi River
Local Voices | The Mississippi River
mississippiriver.natgeotourism.com
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Sunrise from the deck of the @American Queen Steamboat somewhere near Natchez, MS. I LOVE this Mississippi River'
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http://www.news-leader.com/story/life/2016/09/08/raindrop-inspires-2400-mile-journey/89960106/

HUGE THANK YOU to the Springfield News-Leader and rockstar reporter Juliana Goodwin for this FABULOUS article about all the crazy wonderful things happening to Roadtrip with a Raindrop and me!
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HUGE Thank You to Missouri Life Magazine for this wonderful Book Review in the June, 2016 Issue just out! Here's a sample of what Managing Editor Jonas Weir has to say about "Roadtrip with a Raindrop" --

"The book starts out in Lake Itasca, Minnesota. Immediately, you're immersed in beauty with stunning photographs of the cradle of the Mississippi and one of the oldest hardwood forests in the country. And the writing is just as captivating as the photography."

"Aside from the remarkable photography and writing, "Roadtrip with a Raindrop" succeeds in connecting a diverse array of cultures and sewing these great river communities into the fabric of the country. It's a reminder how tied to each other we all really are in the United States, especially along America's great artery."

"You can live vicariously through these pages and get a taste of what it's like for a Missourian to explore the near Canadian states of Minnesota and Wisconsin and venture into 'gator country down in Louisiana. Afterward, you might want to have your own Mississippi River adventure." -- Jonas Weir

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Go to www.gayleharper.com and watch the Book Trailer!
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What a lovely surprise this morning!
Last week I spoke at the Mississippi River Parkway Commission's national conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, who also addressed the group, was there for my presentation. I've just been notified that she wrote and sent out the following 2-page Newsletter about "Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi River."

She did a FABULOUS job of capturing the spirit of this entire project! THANK YOU, SENATOR VINEHOUT!

"May 4, 2016
Mississippi River is One of America’s Greatest Treasures
By Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“A single drop of water falling into the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota would travel the river for 90 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico.” Gayle Harper, author/photographer, read this detail on the National Park Service website. “Every cell in my body felt the impact of that and came to full attention. It felt as if someone had hit the ‘pause’ button on the world.”

She was captivated. How would it be to voyage the entire length of America’s Greatest River for 90 days with an imaginary raindrop?
This moment of inspiration conceived a project that resulted in a story of the peoples, land and waters of the Mississippi River -one of America’s Greatest Treasures. Gayle Harper traveled the Great River Road along with a fictitious raindrop she named
“Serendipity.”

Gayle presented her work at the national conference of the Mississippi River Parkway Commission in La Crosse. I serve as a Parkway Commissioner. The Wisconsin Commissioners hosted the national organization charged with protecting the Great River
Road. America’s longest and oldest National Scenic Byway stretches 3,000 miles through 10 states.

Through an assignment for Country Magazine Gayle was inspired to learn more about the river and its people. She sat down with a map of the Great River Road and divided her journey into 90 segments. Each day she would travel about 27 miles. With no money to support her project, Gayle wrote letters to Chambers of Commerce and other groups asking if they would be interested in helping. She ended up with “more invitations than nights available!”

Local people “chose unique and historic places – a fisherman’s cabin, a trendy downtown loft, a tugboat converted to a bed and breakfast, a share croppers cabin, a plantation mansion, and was given keys to the 30 room mansion,” said Gayle. “’Just leave the keys in the box,’ I was told.”

“I did the research, but I didn’t have any planned interviews. I decided to leave it to Serendipity. I met amazing people everywhere. People invited me into their homes. They took me to meet Aunt Betsy. I went to a little girl’s birthday party. I went to dances, barbeques, barges, festivals, whatever was going on.”

The talented author described the spirit of the river: “River-lovers know – it’s in us. It flows through our hearts. It never leaves us.”
“The soul of the river is its people. They teach us to be innocent and to live in every moment. Life is a series of fleeting moments never to be repeated.” Just like the single raindrop.

Gayle described the “mysterious nature of creativity that we can receive but never claim.” She got back home with “thousands of photographs and impressions”. She was a little overwhelmed about how the project would come together. But beauty and order emerged. “Life has taught me that it works best if I just stay out of its way.” The result of her work is Roadtrip with a Raindrop, a 240-page book of “200 compelling full-color photographs and 55 beguiling tales from the road.” The book, published just over a year ago, has won three major book awards.

Gayle was quick to share her accolades with others. “The work you are doing touches hearts,” she told the Commissioners. The Mississippi River Parkway Commission created the map that inspired her journey.

Commissioners asked Gayle about her next project. She hedged a bit and described the creative process “like a baby growing before ultrasound. It’s brewing but you can’t say
too much about it.”

I asked Gayle about the “mysterious nature of creativity” that can seem squashed by modern life. “Funny you should ask,” she said. “My new project is about the creative spirit. Creativity
is equally available to all of us at all times… If you feel the creative spirit is squashed, the spirit hasn’t gone away. You need to open the channels.”

Gayle finished with a challenge for all of us. “It’s tempting, if you watch the news, to think that fear, isolation, and mistrust are rampant. And that is just not the case. All these people [the river people] taught me the world is filled with wonderful people.”
Indeed it is."

https://www.facebook.com/GayleHarper.MississippiRiver/posts/634467756716242
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WHAT AN AWESOME SURPRISE!

Just received notice that “Roadtrip with a Raindrop” was one of three finalists for the prestigious book award from the Missouri Center for the Book, the Ardis L. Glenn Literary Prize. I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THAT "Roadtrip..." HAD BEEN NOMINATED!

The Missouri Center for the Book is an affiliate of the Library of Congress, the purpose of which is to “strengthen and celebrate the vital role of books, reading, and libraries in the cultural life of the nation.”

Here’s a quote from today's news release from the MCB...

"Roadtrip with a Raindrop" is a beautifully written and exquisitely photographed book recounting Ms Harper's trip from the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota to New Orleans and the rivers end at the Gulf of Mexico. The 90 days refers to the time it takes for a raindrop falling at the source to travel the length of the river. In thoughtful and moving prose Harper tells stories of the river, the towns and most importantly the people who are touched by the river. Harper is an intrepid traveler and the book is filled with wonderful anecdotes of river life and the characters she meets along the way. ” www.gayleharper.com

Thank you to the Center and to the mysterious someone who made the nomination!

Here's the full article if you'd like to see it...
http://www.missouribooks.org/…/spirited-competition-marks-i…
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