walking in Menlo Park

Bob Holmes knows a lot of people in Menlo Park. After all, he’s lived almost his entire life here (taking brief time outs for the Navy and college). But a lot more people know Bob, even if not by name.

“People come up to me and say, ‘I know you. You’re the guy who walks all over town,'” Bob said recently, seated in his well-landscaped Menlo backyard. (Yes, we admit this should have been a walking interview.)

Bob and his wife moved into their current home 14 years ago, about the time Bob retired. He started walking his cross-the-street neighbor’s kids to or from Oak Knoll School. He’d been a lifetime jogger but a spinal injury made that pursuit more difficult. His wife suggested walking, and he took her advice.

Bob Holmes, Menlo Park's walking manHe now logs about 25 miles a week. “I walk to errands, to grocery shop, to check on my Mom who lives in Sharon Heights,” he said. “About everything I do is on foot.” (That, of course, explains why so many locals are familiar with the tall man with a purposeful stride.)

“Walking is a very social activity,” he continued. “And, I’ve never had a conversation I didn’t like!”

Bob recently became a Reebok man, at the suggestion of his grandson. “I’d been a long time Brooks person, the shoe I wore when I jogged. But a redesign changed the way they fit and I switched to Nike. I’m pleased with the new Reebok’s.”

A man who really knows Menlo and can remember long gone stores that once lined El Camino, Bob moved here with his parents in 1949. They lived first on Sherman, then moved out to Ladera when it was just four streets, finally settling in Sharon Heights when it was first developed.

“I was part of the first class to graduate from La Entrada and went to Woodside High School when kids who lived in far west Menlo still went there,” he said.

Bob points out that he’s a walker, not a hiker, although his favorite walks are mountain high in Lake Tahoe. As for Menlo, there is no favorite. “I just walk the streets,” he said.

Photos by Irene Searles