ZANESVILLE, Ohio – One local woman and her grandson have embarked on an epic adventure gaining them fame around the country.
Four years ago, Joy Ryan and her grandson, Brad Ryan, visited their first National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains Park together after Joy confided in Brad she regretted not spending much time in the outdoors throughout her life. A Duncan Falls native, 89-year-old Joy joined Brad in a plan to visit all 61 national parks, and now they are turning that into a reality.
“When we came back from the Smoky Mountains, Brad got to thinking about things. And he said, ‘well let’s see if we can go to some more national parks.’ So that’s how it started and we’re still going,” said Joy.
The grandmother-grandson duo has already visited 30 parks. Joy has experienced so much on their trips including seeing a whale, her first time visiting the ocean, and even climbing a mountain. Brad said he wants people to know that even ordinary people can live extraordinary lives, and they are happy to spread joy to others with their story.
“I’ve always known that she’s this dynamic, charismatic person living in this little, small town here in Duncan Falls, Ohio. But you know, there are a lot of dynamic people living in our community. That’s the funny thing about celebrity and internet fame, and all that stuff is that ordinary people can have extraordinary lives. And now in an internet, social media world; those stories can touch lives literally all around the world,” said Brad.
“My philosophy is to try anything once. And I hope everybody else feels the same way,” added Joy.
Joy and Brad are on the road again starting Monday for six weeks. This road trip will complete all 49 parks in the lower 48 states of the continental U.S. To continue following Joy and Brad’s journey, you can follow them on Instagram at @grandmajoysroadtrip.