Eighty-nine-year-old Joy Ryan is on a mission to visit all 61 national parks—with the help of her grandson, Brad.
The grandmother and grandson were a close pair during Brad’s earlier years, but after his parents divorced in 2001, the now-38-year-old didn’t see his grandmother for a decade. Following a meet-up at his sister’s wedding, Brad realized what he had missed and made it a point to spend time with Joy—and it all started with a simple request to help him make banana bread.
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Brad Ryan, of Duncan Falls, Ohio, shares photos from a visit to Acadia with his Grandma Joy Ryan on June 6-7. "My Grandma Joy was 85-years-old when I took her on a road trip to her first US national park. She told me she had never seen a mountain or the ocean, so I committed to a mission to show her the very best of America. In the past 3.5 years, we have driven 25,000 miles through 38 states. Most recently we traveled to Acadia National Park, the 29th US National Park on #GrandmaJoysRoadTrip. Grandma Joy is 89 now, but she intends to stick around long enough to check all 61 US National Parks off her list." (Photo courtesy of Brad Ryan @doctorhellbender Used with permission.) More @ http://go.nps.gov/YourAcadiaNPS
After the pair reunited, Brad made a point of getting to know his grandmother again. He told TODAY, “You have to start over. That’s what we did. It was a really long process, gradually building up trust again but that is what brought us to the open road.” As it turns out, the “open road” Brad was talking about would lead the two to an amazingly awesome series of trips together.
When Joy told her grandson that she had never seen the mountains or the ocean, he did something about it, taking a trip to Great Smoky Mountain National Park in 2015. The two later toured 21 more national parks over 28 days.
This past June, the pair toured Acadia National Park together. The park staff later shared several now-viral pics of the trip on their Instagram page. Even though the post got tens of thousands of likes, the social media-verse isn’t the only place giving this dynamic duo attention.
When Brad revealed Grandma Joy’s dream to visit Hawaii, Airbnb decided to help. The company recently tweeted about the pair’s park escapades, offering to send the two to Hawaii if the post got 500 likes. With well over 1,000 likes already, it looks like Joy’s latest vacation is on!
Featured photo: Acadia National Park via Instagram