Credit: Instagram @grandmajoysroadtrip

This man and his 89-year-old grandma are hellbent on visiting all 61 U.S. National Parks

TORONTO — Who you take on vacation with you can either make or break your trip, which is why one man decided to bring his beloved grandmother on an epic open road adventure.

As reported by Today, Brad Ryan, a 38-year-old veterinarian in Washington D.C.., and his grandmother, Joy Ryan of Duncan Falls, Ohio, embarked on an impromptu trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in September 2015 after Joy revealed to him that she had never seen mountains or the ocean in all her 85 years.


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Just can’t wait to get on the road again. #GrandmaJoysRoadTrip #ChooseJoy

A post shared by Grandma Joy’s Road Trip (@grandmajoysroadtrip) on

Joy, who successfully climbed a mountain while on that trip, proved that she was capable of much more than Brad thought. So the travelling duo planned another journey, this time with the aim of hitting 21 national parks in just 28 days.

Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Sequoia and Canyonlands – they saw all of it in 2017, and documented their heartwarming adventures on their Instagram account, @grandmajoysroadtrip.

The account includes adorable photos of the pair perched high atop Grand Canyon, driving in their SUV in Shenandoah National Park with the windows down, and taking selfies at Glacier National Park. There’s also a shot of Joy playing navigator, with a road map on her lap, another of her dipping her toes in the water at Great Sand Dunes National Park, and one of her stopping to smell the flowers at Shenandoah, a reminder for us all to take the time to enjoy what’s most important in life.

From the photos, Brad and Joy seem as close as two family members can be but this, however, wasn’t always the case. After his parents’ divorce, which Brad told TODAY “kind of ripped our family in two,” he didn’t speak to his grandmother for 10 years.

The two reconnected years later at his sister’s wedding, after which Brad called up Joy to come over and teach him to make her classic banana bread.

“It was awkward in the beginning when you miss out on a decade of someone’s life,” 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.”

In the past 3.5 years, Brad and his grandma, now 89 years old, have driven 25,000 miles through 38 states. Their most recent trip took them to Acadia National Park – the 29th National Park they’ve visited together – this past June. After their visit, the park’s staff shared a gallery of photos on their Instagram account. That post garnered more than 21,000 likes, catapulting Brad and Joy into viral-Internet fame.


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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 @

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So what’s next for the travelling duo? Besides the goal of hitting all 61 U.S. National Parks, Grandma Joy’s biggest dream is to visit Hawaii. We’re thinking that after climbing a mountain at 85 years old, crossing ocean waters would be a breeze for this incredible woman and her amazing grandson.