By Carmela Martinez
89-year-old Joy Ryan is taking the road trip of the decade with her grandson, Brad Ryan, by attempting to visit all 61 national parks in the US.
According to CBS News, it all started when Joy mentioned to her grandson how much she regretted not travelling more or having more experiences in life after Brad told her about his experience going to the Appalachian Trail while in college.
Joy Ryan lives in Duncan Falls, Ohio. She used to work a minimum wage job until she retired. She’s also been a widow for 20 years.
She has never seen the ocean or the mountains except on TV.
In 2015 as he was finishing up college, Brad decided to remedy that. They took an impromptu three-day trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“During that trip, that’s when I started to realize how unconventional it is for somebody in their 30s, a grandson, to be traveling around with their grandmother. We definitely stood out like sore thumbs everywhere we went,” Brad Ryan, now a wildlife veterinarian at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in D.C. told CBS News.
A lot of people that they encountered while travelling were touched by what they were doing, wishing they spent more time with their grandparents.
Since then, Brad started a GoFundMe page where he tried to gather funds to visit 21 US National Parks in 28 days.
According to the GoFundMe page, they had planned to go to Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Joshua tree, Grand Canyon, Sequioa National Park, and Utah’s Canyonlands.
After that, they visited other national parks like the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and more.
“That puts us at 29 US National Parks out of 61 that we hope to complete. And we’ve done 25,000 miles on the road in the last three and a half years — and we’ve gone through 38 states,” he told CBS News.
Their adventures can be viewed in an Instagram account, ‘Grandma Joy’s Road Trip’.
Their next stops are Hawaii and Alaska.