Grandmother, grandson stop in Eugene on viral national park tour

The two have seen 40 parks so far and hope to visit all 49 parks in the lower United States by the end of the next three months.

Posted: Oct 17, 2019 6:53 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A grandmother and grandson duo who have been on a nationwide road trip seeing all 61 national parks stopped in Eugene on Thursday and shared the lessons they have learned in their travels.

Joy Ryan, 89, and grandson Brad Ryan have been traveling to national parks on and off since 2015. The two reunited after not communicating for nearly a decade due to a family dispute. 

"She told me that she'd never seen the mountains or the desert, and I felt that a life of adventure was still in the books for her," Brad said.

Living in small-town Ohio, Joy said she could only dream of seeing the iconic landmarks across the country.

"It is the adventure of my lifetime. Because I never thought I'd be able to see Yosemite or see Old Faithful go off. I never thought I'd be able to go see that. And to see the whale and all the dolphins that time, that was really great," she said.

The two have seen 40 parks so far and hope to visit all 49 parks in the lower United States by the end of the next three months, though Brad said that even if their adventure ended tomorrow, the bond they've formed has been worth the journey. In the meantime, their Instagram profile, grandma Joy's Roadtrip, has gone viral. But they both say this journey has been about learning lessons.

"I was running through my life and not slowing down to appreciate all the little details she forced me to see when I was walking at her pace," Brad said.

The two are heading to Crater Lake to see it a second time after stopping in Eugene.

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