It took seven years, with a pandemic thrown in the mix, but Brad Ryan and his grandmother, Joy Ryan, finally accomplished their goal of visiting all 63 national parks in the United States.
Brad Ryan, who graduated from Ohio State University’s veterinary school in 2016, began traveling with his then 85-year-old grandmother in 2015, first visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The travel bug caught on, and the pair made it their goal to visit every single national park.
Both grandmother and grandson are from Duncan Falls, Ohio, a small town south of Zanesville in Muskingum County.
He created an Instagram account called “Grandma Joy’s Road Trip” to document their travels, which has gathered over 78,000 followers and international media attention.
And last week, their goal became a reality with a final trip to the National Park of American Samoa. Brad Ryan wrote that Joy Ryan, now 93, set the record for the oldest living person to visit every U.S. National Park.
“We defied erroneous assumptions about the limitations of aging,” Brad Ryan wrote on Instagram. “We defied financial and logistical constraints. We even defied a pandemic. And you might have noticed that I accidentally made Grandma Joy the superstar I always knew her to be.”
The pair may have met their goal, but they aren’t stopping. They have plans for other trips, including one to Kenya.