KENTUCKY (2/3/14) — Road tripper and travel expert Cory Ramsey has been making his way from one end of Kentucky to the other for the past five years.
What started out as a hiking trip after he was laid off work, turned into an adventure and the opportunity of a life time.
Here is his story.
Raised in Hickman, Ky., Ramsey learned first-hand what it’s like to live in a place that has been long forgotten.
Located at the westernmost part of Kentucky, Hickman is nestled under and atop the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.
After graduating high school, Ramsey entered Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, where he majored in broadcasting. He has been a fixture of radio and TV in Kentucky for the last 15 years.
- Ramsey is the creator and host of NASCAR Race Wrap, and has worked for Beaver FM, WUHU 107 and Froggy 103.
- He was the winner of the William Randolph Hearst National Journalism Award in 2002 and has been a travel contributor to WBKO-TV’s Midday Live.
- He also contributes to The Big Dawg and The Wave radio in central Kentucky.
- He has been featured on KET, the front cover of Kentucky Living Magazine and in the Bowling Green Daily News.
- In September, he was featured in a national Associated Press story.
- He’s currently a columnist for newspapers in western Kentucky and for Story Magazine.
However, it wasn’t until the recession of 2009 when Ramsey’s journey really began.
“I work in Bowling Green every afternoon,” said Ramsey. “I am a welder. I weld truck frames together. But, when I was laid off for two months in 2009, I had nothing to do. So I opened a map and started looking for places to hike.”
“Map Dot is more than just visiting a name and some buildings,” said Ramsey.
After visiting many hiking destinations, Ramsey discovered something unique and interesting.
“After over 200 hiking trips over the course, I looked around and discovered a lot of places looked like Hickman, like Fulton County more so than Louisville,” said Ramsey. “There was such a disparity with what I was seeing in actuality than what was being promoted. You always see stuff about Lexington, Louisville and now Bowling Green.”
Ramsey then set out on a different a quest.
“I had run out of hiking places and I needed something new to do,” said Ramsey. “So, I opened my map and noticed all the dots of places I had visited from hiking. I had already visited a good portion of Kentucky counties, and decided to make road trips to the places I haven’t been too yet.”
The notion of going to visit every dot on his map happened all at once. He began to publicize his trips on his personal Facebook page, which set the stage for what was to come over the next few years.
“After I went back to work, I found out I would be working pretty much seven days a week,” said Ramsey. “So, I decided to make my trips early in the morning before I headed into work.”
With coffee in one hand, the other on the steering wheel and miles of blacktop ahead of him, Ramsey made it his goal to visit as many places he could before heading into work.
“At first, I promoted my trips on my personal Facebook page,” said Ramsey. “But, after a while I decided to make a generic page with my team and me talking about rural Kentucky. I had used the term ‘map dot’ before and it kept coming back up. So, then Map Dot Kentucky was formed.”
Founded on Aug. 2, 2013, Map Dot Kentucky quickly gained followers and is growing steadily.
“We didn’t expect for Map Dot to take off like it did,” said Ramsey. “We had some media help though over the years through all the hiking I had been doing and from all the connections I established over the years.”
With good timing and a good concept, Ramsey rolled out as a professional to represent small towns.
“I think now it’s a collective effort,” said Ramsey. “Kentucky is being seen in a different way. With the benefits of Map Dot, everyone gets to see their hometown represented by over 5,000 folks. The potential is there to be able to reach every Kentuckian.”
Ramsey and his crew try to be consistent with coverage and to keep showing a little of everything.
Map Dot has opened the horizon for new and inventive ways of seeing Kentucky.
“It’s hard for me to get over to eastern Kentucky because of the distance,” said Ramsey. “But, I want to get over there to give them equal dignity. I now have a small staff of characters with me, who help me by taking road trips.”
Ramsey truly believes that the entire state is worth seeing and loving. He is making it his personal goal to see every square mile of the Commonwealth and sharing his experiences along the way.
“Map Dot is more than just visiting a name and some buildings,” said Ramsey. “It’s beyond just saying, 'Hello.' These are places, where people live and call home. Places, where people have memories and that’s what gets to the heart. It gets emotional, when you are connected with your homeland. That’s what it is all about, connecting. We are encompassing folks with other parts of Kentucky.”
SurfKY News Reporter
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