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About The Dalles chronicle. (The Dalles, OR) 1998-2020 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 18, 2020)
A10 Weekend of January 18-19, 2020
The Dalles Chronicle
Go simple, go now!
By Tom Peterson
iving a longer, happier, healthier life
for Bob Kenyon is, well, kind of simple.
The 80-year-old doesn’t work out. Or not
in the way that we traditionally think of
He just does not drive a car
in Th e Dalles. Th at’s all.
He lives on Liberty Street. And when
he needs groceries? He walks. If he has an
appointment in town? Th at’s right – foot
“I usually hike or walk somewhere.
Today it was Sorosis Park,” he said. It was
pouring rain that day. “I can’t get through
a day without exercise.”
But he’s not at gyms or public pools.
Th at river is down there, and it beckons,”
he said. In warmer weather, Bob does a
daily swim at Klindt’s Cove in the Colum-
bia River at 6:30 a.m. before a breakfast of
Kenyon is a kind of poster child, err…
senior, for Blue Zones which puts forward
9 power principles drawn from societies
around the world that have bubbles of
population living to be centenarians.
Th ese are people reporting longer, happier
Kenyon said he identiﬁ ed with much
of these philosophies or behaviors. Th ese
centenarians typically walk much, have a
purpose when they wake up in the morn-
ing, surround themselves with people who
support them and eat a diet that is typical-
ly no more than 20 percent meat based.
Th is summer Bob completed a 200-mile
trip down the Columbia River to the
North Jetty at the mouth of the Columbia
River. Remember, he is 80.
It’s like the trip he did at age 70 and age
60. Th at’s right, a three-peat.
“Go simple, go solo, go now,” he said,
ﬁ nding the thread that has led him to this
point in his life.
Th at mantra has led him throughout
the world on horseback, by boat and
Exercise was never his main goal –
adventure, meeting and helping people
– that’s his ticket. Because the joy is in the
“I think that he is a model of a carbon
footprint and his general mental health
and relationships are primary in his life,”
said Mike Ballinger, who had the occasion
to do a seven-day kayak trip with Bob in
September of 2018.
Mike had seen Bob walking in town.
He heard of his kayaking. So, he invited
him on his own trip.
“I was a little anxious about taking an
80-year-old guy down the river,” he said.
“When I paddled with him the ﬁ rst time,
I could see this guy was so comfortable on
the water,” he said.
Bob joined Mike and his two broth-
ers, Paul and Allen and friend Peter Gay
on a trip below Bonneville Dam to near
Mike said he and his brothers consid-
ered themselves “gear freaks” and so when
they set up camp the ﬁ rst night, there
was a stark contrast. “We were unloading
chairs and a table and Bob just threw his
sleeping bag and a 35-year-old tent that he
didn’t set up on the beach.
“He went up to his neck in the water
and started playing harmonica,” Mike
said, “while we were stumbling around in
camp setting up.”
Mike could not remember an instance
when Bob used a stove to cook a hot meal
the entire trip.
However, old sol did a little cooking for
him along the way.
On a hot aft ernoon, they pulled up on a
beach. Bob grabbed a plastic water bottle
and added some powdered milk to it. He
buried it in the warm sun-bathed sand
and went swimming. He came back some
20 minutes later dug it up and added
instant coﬀ ee to the blend.
“Th ese lattes are four bucks at Star-
bucks,” Mike remembered him quipping.
Ballinger was so struck with Kenyon’s sim-
ple approach; the accomplished guitarist
composed a song about Kenyon that as-
pires to ﬁ nd the ﬂ ow Kenyon has created
in his life. It’s titled “Be Th e River.”
“Mike caught the feeling of the river
(any river) and especially the lyrics "’ﬁ nd
the ﬂ ow, just go,’” said Kenyon.
Th at simple ﬂ ow also runs through
Kenyon’s food choices. On the day of our
interview he said he had some lentils and
veggies in a crock pot at home, and he
would likely graze on them throughout
And when the farmer’s market is oper-
ating, that’s where he does most of
his shopping. He thrives on a mostly
vegetable diet with some chicken, he said.
And being ﬂ exible and willing to
continue to learn are key for a sense of
well-being, he pointed out.
Bob recently took up the drum.
He joins the drum circle at Gorge
Community Music on Saturdays.
He plays several diﬀ erent instruments, in
fact, and currently has a goal to commit
some 90 songs to memory.
It’s those intentional choices that have
made all the diﬀ erence in his life, especial-
ly in respect to people. He keeps an eye
out for people like Ballinger.
“I believe there are coincidences in our
life that direct our path,” he said. “And
your path in life has a lot to do with who
you happen to meet along the way.”
Kenyon said a chance meeting with a
man from Goldendale on a horseback trip
in Idaho led him to the great decision to
move from California to the Gorge in the
Early 1970s, for example.
While Kenyon is, no doubt, a stand-
out when it comes to physical health
and well-being, his principles and Blue
Zones principles can be applied to any of
Eating well, walking, ﬁ nding the things
you love and inspire you and surround-
ing yourself with supportive people can
be achieved, one decision at a time. One
vegetable, one walk, one chance meeting
with someone really cool at a time.
“It’s nice to be 80,” said Kenyon who is
still thoroughly enjoying his life. “I have
no objection to it.”
For more information, you can
ﬁ nd Blue Zones Project Th e Dalles
Vote for The Dalles
Here’s a chance to show your
community pride. Blue Zones Project
The Dalles is getting behind the push
to win a spot on the web series Small
The Dalles is pitted against four other
towns in a contest to see who can
garner the most internet votes.
The voting is occurring now through
Jan. 21st. If The Dalles gets the most
votes, the TV series will focus on
The Dalles and bring $500,000 of
investment to six local small businesses
and the community. Voters can vote one
time per person, per device, per day.
Go to lovethedalles.com
and click on the yellow “Small Biz
Revolution” banner and vote. And then
tell your friends to vote too.
We feature a range of delicious
choices to keep you moving
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