Kentucky Lake Ambassador Travels – 2017 AGLOW Conference
So Kentucky Lake went on the road a few weeks ago. We headed north to Lake of the Woods County in Minnesota. We were so far north in fact that Canada provided the back drop for most of our photos! But why, you may ask, might we take Kentucky Lake on the road? The short answer, for AGLOW, the Association of Great Lakes Outdoors Writers. They host an annual outdoors writers conference in which numerous writers, editors, photographers, corporate sponsors, tourism members, and other general outdoor enthusiasts gather for a few days to enjoy a local area, write stories, reconnect with old friends and make new ones! Kentucky Lake hosted this conference in 2014 and after the publicity we received from the conference, three years later, we have decided to begin the process once again to host their conference in the future. This trip was an adventure however, and I hope to detail some of our adventure here.
The Kentucky Lake representation consisted of Executive Director Randy Newcomb, one of ourBoard of Directors and Kentucky Dam Village Park Manager Scot Ratzlaff, Marketing Director Elena Blevins, and Group Sales leader Christina Onnybecker. We each have a special connection with AGLOW as Randy made contacts in Iowa, Elena and Chris in Branson, MO and Fon du lac, WI, and Scot as the lodging host for the 2014 conference at Kentucky Dam Village. We were all eager to connect with organization once again.
As planning began, logistical hurdles arose, and with the prospect of a seventeen hour drive ahead, our transportation options were limited. So Christina and I (Elena Blevins) decided to drive…an RV along the seventeen hour trek! For the past week, Christina and I have been camping in an RV and having a marvelous time doing so! Scot and Randy chose to fly and had wonderful accommodations at a nearby Bed & Breakfast, the Wildwood Inn Bed & Breakfast.
First, we would like to thank our board of directors for approving this adventure and the opportunity to make a bid to host AGLOW. We would also like to thank Bryan Bull of CampSouth RV Rentals. He is located in Nashville, TN and provides fully equipped RV rentals to accommodate a number of adventures for families, professional work trips, girls getaway, or even a fishing trip! He has been great to work with and was always available to answer any questions that arose throughout the week. We look forward to working with him again. Just a little information about the RV… We rented a 23-foot Class C Motorhome, you know, the kind of motorhome with a storage area above the drivers cab or our case, my bedroom! We had a full bathroom and kitchen and all necessities were provided. We only had to bring our luggage and make a quick grocery stop! So after picking the RV up on Friday the 22nd, we loaded up that night, ready to hit the road on Saturday. Randy and Scot would fly out on Sunday and meet us there that evening.
After a slight delay on Saturday morning, we were headed North by Noon. We covered Kentucky, Illinois, and most of Iowa on day one of our trip, stopping for our first night in the RV at Crossroads RV Park in Mt. Pleasant, IA. This was a small, quaint RV park right off of the highway. Unfortunately, we pulled in after dark, and left before we could do any exploring, but we can say the sites were very well maintained and the shower house clean! Sunday morning we were off to finish Iowa and on into Minnesota. Sunday was a long day of traveling, we were both grateful for a full service bathroom in the RV to limit our necessary stops. We had a quick dinner at a place called Rough Cut Bar & Grill in Milaca, MN and finally reached out destination at Wheelers Point Resort in Lake of the Woods around 11:00PM.
Our presentation to the AGLOW Board of Directors was Monday morning and during this time we were able to showcase Marshall County and Kentucky Lake with what we have to offer this group of writers through discussion, handouts, and video. We were bidding against three other locations making the competition rather tough, however, we remain optimistic that this group does wish to return to Kentucky Lake. After, our presentation we spent the next several days participating in the conference, learning at seminars, networking, and gathering ideas from writers, other CVBs, and the general area. We attended their shooting day event, Christina and I even went walleye fishing with the spouses of the writers, and had a blast! Every evening after a full day of activities and conversations, Christina and I would return to our warm cozy RV. I was grateful for the cozy heated space as leaving ninety degree weather in Kentucky to fifty degree weather in Minnesota is a little drastic for me! We had an exceptional lunch at Ballard’s Resort one day, while the majority of the conference and activities took place at Sportsman’s Lodge, a more rustic lodge sitting right on the Rainy River, complete with restaurant, bar, lodge rooms, and a variety of cottages throughout the property.
Friday morning, after a joint breakfast with Randy and Scot, we bid them adieu and a safe flight and we began our process of packing up and unplugging the RV and were once again off, this time headed HOME! Rather than take the same route as before, this time we headed down through Minnesota into Wisconsin, our route just missing one of our competitors at this conference, La Crosse, Wisconsin! We stopped for the night just outside Madison, WI at the Madison KOA which was once again right off the interstate and well-maintained and clean! We were up bright and early Saturday morning to finish the last leg of our adventure. We completed our journey around 5 o’clock on Saturday, September 30th. What an adventure we had and it got us thinking…what are your adventures on Kentucky Lake?! Share them with us, or even invite us out! We would be happy to share an adventure on Kentucky Lake with you as well as continue to take Kentucky Lake to other places too! Stay tuned! We will be hosting SEOPA, a sister organization to AGLOW, next week, at Kentucky Dam Village. We are eager to share our little piece of paradise with this other stellar group of outdoors writers too! Be on the lookout for future adventures from your Kentucky Lake Ambassadors!