Ohio grandmother visits Gateway Arch on final stop to see every national park

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ST. LOUIS – She’s the grandma with get up and go, who got up and went on a trip across the country with her grandson.

“We tried to go to all the lower United States, all the 49 parks, and this makes number 49,” said Joy Ryan. “We’ve been gone since September 23, 2015 and we’ll be back November 8.”

What began as a recollection of an Appalachian adventure soon turned into a family trip for these two.

“It’s called Grandma Joy’s road trip,” said Brad Ryan, Joy’s grandson.

Their nationwide trip has gained this “Instagram-ma” from Ohio quite the social media following.

“We just hit 30,000 followers on Instagram this morning as we pulled up to the Arch,” Brad said.

They’ve traveled more than 40,000 miles across the country over the last four years, visiting all 49 national parks in the lower 48 states.

“I love St. Louis and knew she’d be impressed with seeing the Arch and the Mississippi River for the first time,” Brad said.

Brad said his grandmother told family that she’d never seen a mountain in person. So, of course, they had to climb a mountain.

“So the next day he had me climb a mountain,” Joy said. “That’s the only mountain I’ve ever climbed and I climbed that one.”

And if there’s anything to take from this 89-year-old willing you hit the road it’s this: “Our treasures are hidden in these parks. Every park is different and every park has a different treasure. Never wait until tomorrow what you can do today because tomorrow might not come.”

“We’ve seen the greatest things,” Joy said. “A whale came up beside the boat in California. We’ve seen a little bear walking along. We went to Carlsbad Caverns, formed by a drop at a time and you think, ‘My word, how many millions of years has that been to do this?’”

“We got to go see a wall of dinosaur bones. Well, who in the world gets to go see and do that? We’ve just seen things you couldn’t imagine in a lifetime and things no one else has ever come to see because it’s off the beaten path.”


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