News ID: 316945
Published: 0833 GMT October 10, 2021

Grandmother and grandson on a trip to visit all US national parks

Grandmother and grandson on a trip to visit all US national parks
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Joy Ryan, also known as "Grandma Joy" on the Instagram account called "grandmajoysroadtrip," 91, and her grandson Brad, have been on a road trip spread out over several years.

It's part of a mission to visit all 63 national parks in America and the territories, wvva.com reported.

It's an experience she described as spectacular.

"When you're on one of these trips, you meet the nicest people, and there's something spectacular about every park," said Grandma Joy Ryan. "One's not better than the other, there's something special in everyone."

Her grandson Brad said the idea for the life-changing trip came about after he hiked the Appalachian Trail.

"I knew that she had this thirst for adventure, and this passion for wildlife that she had instilled in me," said Ryan. "And I just thought about this woman who had lost two of her three sons, was widowed, uh had worked in a grocery store until she was in her late 70s, just sitting in her house day after day, um just seeing the world on television but not for herself. The more I thought about that, the more I just realized that this is really a, a chapter that I can help her write, we can change the story of her life if I just invite her along for the ride."

That next chapter led them to the Bridge Walk at the New River Gorge.

Ryan said they were excited to add America's newest national park to their list.

"We love traveling the country and we use the national parks as sort of our waypoints as a means of just exploring places that we never would've gone to otherwise," said Ryan. "So, we've driven over that bridge multiple times on our road trips and we never stopped here because it wasn't a national park, and a name is not everything but we're really glad West Virginia has their first national park."

From seeing her first mountains to stopping in the Mountain State, Grandma Joy said she encourages everyone to live life to the fullest, no matter what age.

"I just hope everybody enjoys life and uh do today what you want to do because you do not know if tomorrow will be here or not," said Ryan.

New River Gorge is the 62 national park for the Ryans, which means they have one left on their list to conquer.

Brad said after that trip, he plans to continue to travel with his favorite sidekick, his grandma.

   
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