Man takes grandma cross-country to see mountains and the ocean

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 22 August 2019

Until four years ago, Brad Ryan’s grandma, who lived in a small town in Ohio, had never seen a mountain or the ocean. Now Brad, 38, and his 89-year-old Grandma Joy are on a mission to visit all 61 of the U.S. national parks.

So far they’ve been to about half, travelling across 38 states and over 40,000km and Grandma Joy says, ‘we’re having a ball’.

Brad lost touch with his grandma Joy for a decade after his parents’ divorce but he missed her and the two reconnected. Sometime after this, Brad told Joy about his experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2009 and about living in the wilderness. “Her eyes softened and then she matter-of-factly said, ‘I regret that I didn’t get see more things in life. It would have been nice to see the mountains,'” Brad told Mother Nature Network. “My heart broke for her.”

A few years later when Brad needed a break after a busy period of work, he phoned his gran and asked her if she was doing anything that weekend. “I want to drive down to the Smokies. How do you feel about sleeping in a tent?” She responded decisively, ‘When are you picking me up?'”

And so their journey began. Grandma Joy was 85 at the time and she’d never slept in a tent before. She also climbed 3.7km on a trail that weekend ‘receiving high-fives all the way.’

“Two years later I set up a GoFundMe called Grandma Joy’s Road Trip in the spirit of making up for lost time and proving that you’re never too old to pack in a lifetime of adventure and travel,” said Brad.

“We started out just to do the national parks. We decided to do as many as we could before I kick the bucket, and we’re still going,” Joy said to 10TV – WBNS recently.

Brad told Mother Nature Network that when he was a child, “my Grandma Joy and I would go to Blue Rock State Park near our hometown, and I would catch crawdads in the stream. I always knew my Grandma Joy and I shared a reverence for nature and wildlife.”


Image: @Grandmajoysraodtrip

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