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A Driving Diva

LAURA BYRD IS A TROUPER. When I changed her Scenic Drives assignment at the last minute, she didn’t curse or kvetch. Even though she’d already driven and researched a different destination, and was getting ready to turn in that story, Byrd calmly accepted the new challenge and delivered her piece on time. A true professional. Byrd does double duty year-round—serving as the Driven columnist for San Diego Magazine as well as writing features for Travels’ Scenic Drives. She’s the rare female auto enthusiast who’s also a fine journalist. Pro driver Danica Patrick may drive (a little) faster, but what has she ever written?

It should be noted that even after making deadline for her story this month—on the stretch of roads and bridges along the Columbia River Gorge—Byrd still contributed two pieces to our Travel Bag department. She keeps me up on travel trends—as described in her short item about wine bars taking root in airports. And she keeps an eye open for Found Art—see the cheeky stretching-woman sculpture she discovered.

OUR OTHER TRAVEL TIPSTRESS, Judith Morgan, never disappoints. This month, she hands over the keys to renting a flat in London. Why stay in a private home instead of a hotel? Notes Morgan, “We save by not having to tip our way across hotel lobbies and into taxis, and by bringing in groceries from food halls and street markets.”

Also not disappointed by Morgan’s prose: the judges in the Western Division of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her stories from these pages won three SATW awards: gold for a December 2006 piece on the Baltics, and two silvers for pieces covering Italy (August ’06) and Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona (February ’06).

Thanks to these ladies, I know you’ll enjoy this issue.