Intro To Hot Coffee 101

Editor’s Note: This was written by Map Dot, Kentucky founder Cory Ramsey in late 2013. It has been hidden away on a zip drive in a drawer until now.


Welcome to another blog about Kentucky. At least you’ll drink a lot of coffee with me.

I’m a professional road tripper. I get up every morning, pour a cup of black Folger’s into a stainless travel mug, and drive a two lane I haven’t been on to a spot nobody’s heard of. I found out after living in Kentucky my whole life and traveling only the four lanes that I had missed about 99 percent of what was off the cloverleaves. Beyond the Interstate exits. In the sticks. Worse yet, I had grown up in the country and should have known better.

Over the past two years, these stick drives have taken me to every county in Kentucky. Twice. And to within 20 miles of any given location in the state. Along the way, I took quite a few pictures, and began posting them on a Facebook page in August, 2013. Map Dot, Kentucky went viral immediately, as small town Kentuckians began to relate with like neighbors all over the state, and those living in bigger areas wanted to see what else was out there, too.

I’ve been fortunate to appear on TV and radio, and write for papers and magazines about the trips, but funding comes from a “real” job. I’m a welder. So, road trip in the morning, earn my keep at night. I quit sleeping altogether sometime in 2011.

This won’t be a travel guide, or a history lesson. It’s a story of what happened during those mornings when I hit the road. With Kentucky and its places an ample backdrop. Buckle Up, and I’ve got the tab this trip.


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To those Kentuckians tucked away in hollers, hills, knobs, and bottomlands…

What is in a political border that it holds us so? Why does the ground within that border bind us to tradition and defense of everything that border encompasses?

Kentucky is a land. Earth wrapped by rivers and mountains and a parallel. Yet, within that boundary, imaginary or waterlogged, lies allegiance. We, if Kentuckians, call it an “Old Home,” and sing songs about its grass and horses. We, if Kentuckians, claim it as home no matter our current reside elsewhere. We, as Kentuckians, perhaps the most homesick of the 50 states when away. But it’s just a border, established in 1792, completed with final purchase in 1818.

I’m from that purchase. My Kentucky was founded at the back end. No further can one go west than Fulton County. A river keeps us in, a border welcomes us southward to Tennessee. And to the rest of the encased Kentucky, we may not even exist. Warfield would know that feeling. Some 450 miles to the east, still in state, staring across to Kermit, West Virginia. Another river, yet with a bridge. No different, they may well be forgotten about to.

The Map Dots of Kentucky are spread far and near across the boundaries set forth in 1792, expanded in 1818. As Lexington and Louisville far outpaced other settlements for size, Kentuckians, those living within the border at any point in the land, still made a mark tucked away in hollers, hills, knobs, and bottomlands. They lived at the crossroads, the country stores, the farmlands, and the coalfields. They called this area home, too.

I sat out to see the others in 2013. It began as a quest to cover more hiking ground, and ended up as a quest to see the whole of Kentucky. Every single spot in the state. To compare it with the others, especially with the others that received the most attention. What was Kentucky? Was it the polished, presented parts seen on Derby Day on national TV? Was it the stereotyped images from the 1960s still etched in War On Poverty lore? What was out there? What was real? Was it even worth mentioning?

I found out in an exploration that lasted a year. A road trip to every county. With the bent of a protest, having to work seven days a week as an auto worker in Bowling Green, the chip on my shoulder and statement to make made for an even better reason to get out and go. So I did. And found out that border-wrapped passion, one mile at a time.


Editor’s Note: Written in 2013, in moth balls until now.


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