93-year-old grandma, grandson finish mission to visit every US national park together
After seven years, a grandmother and her grandson on a mission to visit all 63 national parks have reached their final stop.
Joy Ryan and Brad Ryan arrived at the National Park of American Samoa in the South Pacific on Monday after starting their trip in their hometown of Duncan Falls, Ohio.
"We departed from our hometown of Duncan Falls, Ohio at 3:00 am on Saturday," Brad Ryan told "Good Morning America" via email. "We took a two day break in Oahu before boarding our final flight to Pago Pago, American Samoa, on Monday. Three flights and nearly seventeen flying hours were required before we touched down in American Samoa on Monday evening."
The grandmother-grandson duo has been documenting their epic adventures on their @grandmajoysroadtrip Instagram account since 2019 but have been traveling to national parks since October 2015 when they visited their first park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.
Brad Ryan, a veterinarian, told "GMA" it has been the "greatest privilege" of his life to accompany his grandmother, and described their latest feat as a "bittersweet" one, having come just over a week since Brad Ryan's father and Joy Ryan's eldest son's death earlier this month.
"Reaching our 63rd and final U.S. National Park is bittersweet, with an emphasis on the 'sweet.' Standing at the finish line in American Samoa affirms that seemingly impossible goals are in fact possible if you pursue them with passion and pure intention," Brad Ryan wrote. "Grandma Joy has taught the world that you are never too old to show up and live the adventurous life of your dreams. It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be in the driver's seat as Grandma Joy made history to become the oldest person to achieve this historic feat."
Joy Ryan told "GMA" last year that their national park journey has been "a grand adventure."
"It's really been a beautiful, beautiful time. And I wouldn't trade it for anything," she said at the time.