Travel Classics Writers Contests

Bill Fink Writers Contest Winner
Best Travel Story Arizona

Gayle Keck
for "From Bones to Bees"

"I heard Bones coming long before he knocked on my door. By the time he'd lugged a suitcase up to my second-floor casita, he was breathing hard. Between gulps of air, he introduced himself. "Bones - it's a nickname," he said, chuckle-wheezing, as he pointed to his official Hacienda del Sol nametag, which did indeed read, "Bones."

Bones is anything but. He must tip the scale at well over 300 pounds. "Need any advice about Tucson? Any insider tips?" he asks. Since I'm on the well-fed side myself, I respect a hearty appetite. "Where are your favorite spots to eat?" I inquire.

Bones digs into the question with gusto, reeling off favorites for ribs, enchiladas and more. We rhapsodize together about the hand-made, to-order corn tortillas at Taqueria Pico de Gallo, where I'd just had lunch.

If anyone thinks a hotel bellman can't be a culinary connoisseur, Bones could certainly prove you wrong - as wrong as I was when I scoffed at Tucson, Arizona's designation as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the first in the United States.

Tucson? Really? Michelin stars: zero. TV celebrity chefs: none. Visits by Anthony Bourdain: zip. But it turns out the UNESCO designation isn't about haute cuisine or trendy street food; it's about 4,000 years of gastronomic history. And about the ability to source food from the most unlikely, water-starved terrain - a situation UNESCO anticipates more and more of the globe will be facing, due to climate change...

About the Author:
Gayle Keck knows how to open a bottle of Champagne with a sword. She's also a Lowell Thomas Award-winner who writes about travel and food -- preferably both at the same time. She has sipped fermented mare's milk in Kyrgyzstan, dug for truffles in Italy, crafted wine at Napa Valley's "Crush Camp" and munched her way through every continent except Antarctica, which seems far too focused on frozen food.

Gayle has written for Gourmet, National Geographic Traveler, AFAR, Islands, GQ, the Zagat San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants guides and AARP The Magazine and other magazines and is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, where she created a monthly column on travel magazines; her work has also appeared in The Guardian (UK), USAToday, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, San Francisco Chronicle, New Orleans Times-Picayune and other major newspapers. Her stories have appeared in Best Travelers' Tales 2004 and Best Women's Travel Writing 2008. Check out her web site and blog to learn more.

The contest prize includes an Arizona vacation for two: Round-trip airfare, rental car, accommodations in Scottsdale, Tucson and Bisbee, a custom itinerary, and a guaranteed spot in the 2017 Travel Classics International or Domestic Conference.
Past Contests:

TC Arizona 2016
TC Switzerland 2016
TC Vancouver 2015
TC Arizona 2014
TC Alberta 2013
TC Ireland 2013
TC Arizona 2012
TC Wales 2012
TC Vancouver 2011
TC Dublin 2011
TC Arizona 2010
TC Quebec 2010
TC West 2009
TC Ireland 2009
TC West 2008
TC West 2007
TC Europe 2007
TC West 2005
TC Ireland 2005
TC West 2004
Past Contest Winners:

2016 - Gayle Keck
2016- Larry Bleiberg
2015 - Bill Fink
2014 - Kathleen Mangan
2013 - Jill K. Robinson
2013 - Kimberley Lovato
2012 - Rachel Dickinson
2012 - Michael Shapiro
2011 - Margie Goldsmith
2011 - Sally Shivnan
2010 - Michael Shapiro
2010 - Rachel Dickinson
2009 - Michael Shapiro
2009 - Laura Read/Gayle Keck
2008 - Michael Shapiro
2008 - Echo Garrett
2007 - Kathleen Mangan
2007 - Paul Ross
2006 - Wayne Curtis
2006 - Margie Goldsmith
2005 - Allan Lynch
2005 - Ed Readicker-Henderson
2004 - Barbara Wysocki
2003 - Ed Readicker-Henderson
2002 - Margie Goldsmith
2001 - Melanie McManus
2000 - Judy Kirkwood
1999 - Melanie McManus
1998 - Yvonne Jeffery
1997 - Laura Byrne Paquet

Current Contest:

Best Story on Ireland
Deadline: November 1, 2017 Find out more.
Previous Contests:

Best Story on Arizona
Deadline: April 1, 2017 Find out more.
Best Story on Switzerland
Deadline: October 15, 2016. Find out more.
Best Story on British Columbia
Deadline: April 1, 2016. Find out more.
Best Travel Story on Arizona
Deadline: April 1, 2015. Find out more.
Best Travel Story on Alberta
Find out more.
Best Travel Story Ireland 2013
Luxury 18-day vacation for two in Ireland offered by Adams and Butler Tours.
Find out more.

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