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First day photos, Dutch ovens and bikepacking

| September 7, 2022 1:00 AM

We're empty nesters, so no smiling photos of little kids in new clothes and backpacks heading off to the first day of school. But Bert works year 'round for the Lakeland School District as the lead mechanic and he makes sure that nearly 70 buses are running well to safely transport kids on 350 square miles of bus routes. His first day of school photo shows him with a sack lunch, a Mt. Dew and a smile.

Here’s a group Good Sport Award to the hundreds of kids, from kindergartners to seniors in high school, who let their parents take first day of school photos Tuesday to document history and to post on Facebook. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing so many smiling faces, especially those of the parents!

We all need to pay close attention to those big yellow buses carrying the kids and heed flashing stop lights when they’re picking up and dropping off on the routes.

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Bob and Eleanora Capaul, along with over 60 family members and friends, had another epic Labor Day weekend at their 2-acre St. Joe River property. There were two dozen cars, eight tents and 14 camp trailers for the group. The annual Dutch oven cookoff featured two dozen Dutch ovens, and a menu of stews, lasagna, mac and cheese, breads, desserts, chicken and dumplings, pie, spicy elk meat balls and more.

Sounds like a Thanksgiving dinner under the stars!

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Greg Helbling has always been Action Adventure Man but his wife, Natalie Eckstein, reports another activity has been added to his repertoire.

"Bikepacking" is Greg’s new hobby. You ride your bike in the blazing heat, 100+ miles a day, carrying all your stuff on your bike. Oh … and sleep on the ground. It’s like being a hipster transient in the mountains.”

I had to look up Smoke 'n' Fire 400. According to the website: “The Idaho Smoke ‘n’ Fire 400 is a 400ish mile self-supported mountain bike race traversing some of Idaho’s diverse geography on two-track, big gravel and dirt Forest Service roads, challenging singletrack, some hike-a-bike and a few paved roads. Our annual event begins, and ends, in downtown Boise in historic Hyde Park, the second Wednesday of each September. There is no registration fee, no support and no prize money.”

No wonder it appeals to Greg!

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The Tuesday following Labor Day Weekend is probably one of my least favorite days of the year. Even though the calendar says that the last day of summer isn’t for three weeks, it’s all over but the shouting for all intents and purposes.

Tradition or at least generations of people who summer in the Hamptons, tell us that it’s a fashion faux paus to wear white after Labor Day. Pshaw. If I owned a pair of white shoes that weren’t athletic shoes, I’d sashay about town showing them off. The history behind the no white shoes or clothing fashion decree is interesting. In the 19th century, it was a way for the upper class to distinguish themselves from the working class. Historians say affluent groups who could afford to leave town for warmer climes in the fall wore brighter, lighter colored clothing. Somewhere along the way, it became accepted socially that if you aren’t taking those winter vacations, you shouldn’t wear white after the last holiday of summer.

I’m thinking people who live in warmer climes are exempt from this snobbish and outdated fashion rule. As is anyone who enjoys wearing white, bright and light colors no matter the date on the calendar.

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Happy birthday today to Keri Alexander and her mother Sherry Krulitz, Vicki Fulton (70!), Laura Umthun (70!), James Arras, Lori Millsap, Kathleen Cavender, Nikki Luttmann and Jim Brannon. Tomorrow Anne Mitchell, Lea Williams,Vicki Currie, Lisa Gould, Sheena Dunn, Angie Demmig, Lorna Price, Gayle Simpson, Imogene Sverdsten, Irina Ponomarenko, Brad Marshall, Sonya Fernandes, Rosemary Dickson and Bob Coles celebrate. 9/9 birthdays for Dani Zibell-Wolfe, Mary Larson (60!), Kibbee Walton, Seth Anderson, Dominick Pokosa, Daniel Connelly, Krysta Azzollini, Marty Meyer, Donna Boise and Chase Price. Saturday Gregg Gain, Mary Ellen Denton, Tami Martinez, Helen Terway and Annette Kennedy (70!) blow out the candles. Jim Pierce, Hannah Epstein, Cameron Epstein, Cyndie Brubaker, Jeremy Siegler, Kelly Hanson, Mark Compton, Patty Roberson, Lily Hollibaugh and Darrell Dlouhy raise a glass on Sunday. Sunny Monday birthdays for Rose Backs, Nelson Gourley, Tiegan Horton, Nancy Adam, Walter Cole, Norman Oss and Polly Gava. On Sept. 13 Mike Pearce, Larry Riley, Janell Mollett, Kelly Sheffield, Chris Mann, Ryan Bartlett, Thomas Vigil, Mary Langenberg, Stormy Purcell, Ray Harwood, Lori Turchik, Laura Fierro, JulieAnn Sparrowgrove, Cher Rhoads, Nicole Hamilton, Gina Davis and Debbie Margraff take another trip around the sun.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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