Meet The Grandma-Grandson Duo On A Mission To Visit All 63 National Parks

Joy Ryan is a devoted grandmother to her grandson, Brad Ryan. They’ve been close since he was born. Eventually, his parents got divorced, which caused problems between Brad and his mother, so he approached his grandmother at his sister’s wedding. He noticed that she was frail, and he wanted to do what he could to help.

When Brad spoke to Fox Weather, he said that he was rebuilding what was lost from scratch.

This Labor Day weekend marks the seven year anniversary of our first road trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National…

Posted by Grandma Joy’s Road Trip on Friday, September 2, 2022

He said: “I set out to try to save her from this small-town experience, what I considered a really gloom and doom way to spend your golden years sitting on the porch in the same town you’ve lived in 80-plus years.”

One of the interesting things that Brad learned about his grandmother is that she had never seen a mountain. He wanted to take her on a trip to see one at the Smoky Mountains National Park. She agreed, and the trip was beautiful for both of them.

After visiting one national Park, they decided to make it a goal to visit all national parks in the United States. They’ve already been to 62 since they got started in 2015 and they’ve been sharing about the journey on Facebook!

Let’s spread out and give our lesser known national parks some love too. Lassen Volcanic National Park in California is…

Posted by Grandma Joy’s Road Trip on Sunday, September 18, 2022

When they first started traveling together, Joy was 85 years old. She now is a 92-year-old grandmother and still loving life on the road.

Brad spoke about the first trip to the Smoky Mountains National Park on Facebook. At the time, he was attending college at Ohio State University. He was studying veterinary medicine.

He said: “Grandma Joy had not yet seen (or climbed) her first mountain. And a weekend getaway that was intended to be a one and done experience, planted a seed that would take us to every corner of America over the next seven years.”

We hiked into McKittrick Canyon on our way back to El Paso from nearby Carlsbad Caverns National Park back in 2019. Fun…

Posted by Grandma Joy’s Road Trip on Friday, September 23, 2022

During all of the time that they traveled together, they’ve seen their fair share of challenges. This includes the pandemic, which did slow them down to a limited extent. They’ve also enjoyed an active life of visiting the national parks, watching bears, white water rafting, sleeping in tents, and seeing the sunrise over the ocean.

When Joy spoke to The Washington Post, she said that she never really considers her age. In her words, “I just do it.”

They were able to visit Denali National Park in Alaska in August.

Grandma Joy and Brad are members of the exclusive “Denali 30% Club,” the minority of visitors who actually get to see…

Posted by Grandma Joy’s Road Trip on Monday, August 29, 2022

They also took the opportunity to visit Wrangell-St. Elias National Park while traveling to Alaska. They are now preparing to head out to the final National Park that will put the icing on the cake.

Brad has since graduated from college and is now a veterinarian in Washington DC. He spoke with the Washington Post, saying that everything has been magical. He said: “I’ve been able to see so much of the country and meet so many people with my grandma by my side.”

We haven’t posted much since our spring road trip, but we are hitting the road for two weeks starting on July 18th! And…

Posted by Grandma Joy’s Road Trip on Monday, July 4, 2022

They are heading out to the National Park of American Samoa from their hometown of Duncan Falls, Ohio. It is a trip of some 6700 miles.

Perhaps Joy says it best when she calls it a grand adventure. She said to the Washington Post: “It’s really been a beautiful, beautiful time. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

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