Book Review: A Guide to Falling Down in Public by Joe Kurmaskie

Ladies and gents, I have reviewed many a book on the Mountainstroh Blog over the years. Some I have loved and others not so much. The one I am presenting to you today is one of the best yet.. Continue reading “Book Review: A Guide to Falling Down in Public by Joe Kurmaskie”

Low Rent District of Hell

Well folks, I am back in Spokane this week, and recovering from the plague I picked up last week.  This means there’s been no real cycling.  I did learn today, though, that at least in Spokane, the lady spin class instructors are MUCH tougher on the students that the guy instructors!  I did almost once again tip over the spin bike, which would have resulted in a giant yoga pant clad game of dominoes! (Spinimoes?)

But since there is no other cycling news (except wondering how many of the bobbing pony tails in the class have told their fathers “Dad!  There was a guy as old as you in class today! And he didn’t die!” ) I decided to tell a story of when I first heard the term used in the title of this post…. Continue reading “Low Rent District of Hell”

A Free Pitcher of Beer

Back when we were in college, and in the years immediately following, one of the best things that could happen to us was to somehow come into possession of a free pitcher of beer.  Since back then we drank Strohs, Bud Lite and the occasional Henry’s, we were not all that picky.  As we knew, any free beer is good beer!

Of all the free beer though, the most legendary was the night of THE Kiss. Continue reading “A Free Pitcher of Beer”

Man Law!

Folks, a word of warning here.  I am going to do something I don’t normally do, I am going to stereotype a group of people.  Now the group of people in question are men, so, since I am part of this group, I feel ok doing so.

Remember, as always, the opinions of this page are mine and mine alone, and I never try to annoy or offend (OK maybe sometimes I do to a particula rperson or two, but NOT this time.) So read on if you’d like! Continue reading “Man Law!”

Know Your Audience

I seriously sit back and wonder sometimes about myself.  Why you ask?  Because I can almost always find the humor in things.  Meetings, weddings, funerals, shoot, even traffic jams, I can usually find something to tickle my funny bone.

Then there is a post I found on Facebook that goes something like this:

You find it offensive?  Well I find it funny, that’s why I am a happier person than you are!

Don’t get me wrong.  I do NOT go out of my way to offend people.  I know my audience.  Not everyone’s mind is in the gutter like mine.  So something I find funny would very likely NOT tickle those I work with.  At the Holy P. Monica and I had to work hard on NOT making eye contact in a meeting if someone said something that was remotely dirty.  We knew if we did, we’d lose it and never be able to explain ourselves.

Today, I was in an elevator with a couple of lady co-workers (one was my boss).  I really don’t know how we got to this line, but I looked at them and said “Well you know, guys have a MUCH higher tolerance than women. Continue reading “Know Your Audience”


I know many of you had to be Looney Tunes fans when you were kids (or even now!)  Cartoon network, even with Sponge Bob, Johnny Bravo and RugRats can’t touch the classics!

But do any of you remember the one with Yob?  The Martian baby who’s rocket ran into the earthling baby on the way to be born. 


Because in the 50s, women didn’t go into labor, they went to the hospital and either a stork or a rocket or a parachute delivered the kids. 

The Earth family had no idea this happened, but they started noticing the kid, Yob, just wasn’t normal….


I bring this up because I am starting to think there is NO way my oldest can be mine!!  (Maybe HE is YOB!)

He is going to be starting his junior year in College in September.  Last year, he had his first apartment.  I took him grocery shopping the first day. It cost me almost $200!!  The kid had recipes!  He wanted diced pimentos!  Hell, I am still not sure what a diced pimento is or what you use it for.  I lived on Kraft Mac and Cheese and cheese burgers, plus trading Barb and Terry baby sitting for real food…  He cooks!!

I found out early on that even on Saturday nights, he was studying. 


“Dude,” I said, “You have to find fun stuff!  It’s college!”  I was thinking intramural sports, or even beer pong…  He took up Tango dancing “Well theirs more girls than guys and they are gorgeous…”  Well I can’t fault the logic, but I can dance a lick….

Speaking of talent, he can sing, play anything with a string, and borrowed a flute to play with during the summer.  I couldn’t even figure out how to play cymbals….

He has an actual fashion sense and girls love him! 


I was more of a crash and burn kinda guy, and without my village my clothes still don’t match.

And the kid is incredibly smart!  He’s carrying straight A’s in his major (Math) and has never gotten below a B+ in any other class…. 


He was also, in high school, and incredible inline speed skater, going to nationals twice!  Yeah I was a helluva flag foot player, but honestly.

Instead of zombie books, Sci Fi, Old Westerns or Mountain climbing books, the kid reads, understands and enjoys literature.  He bought and read the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe, just for fun…

I just can’t help but think somewhere out there is a Martian Family, raising an 80s rock listening, bike riding, zombie watching, Levi wearing, nature loving kid, and wondering “How the hell did he turn out like this?”

Proud of him though!  He is his own person, and he will do well!  But is he realy mine???

Book Review: The Metal Cowboy: Ten Years Further Down the Road Less Pedaled by Joe Kurmaskie

I really like to read! I have been an avid reader since my dad gave me my fist real book “The Sackett Brand” by Louis L’Amour back in the 4th grade. I read many different genres, from sci-fi, to westerns, fantasy, and hard science to name a few. What I pride myself on is my Adventure Library. This was started back when I started climbing mountains in the 90s. It contains climbing books, running rivers, crossings of polar regions and deserts, as well as many books on cycling. (Right now they are all in plastic bins in the attic, but when we have a place big enough….)

Over the years, I have developed one rule on determining whether it s a good adventure book or not. “Does it make me want to go out and do what the author is writing about?” Using ONLY that rule, Joe Kurmaskie hits a home run with “The Metal Cowboy: 10 Ten Years Further Down the Road Less Pedaled.


This is the anniversary edition of this book. First printed 10 years ago. It is a compilation of short stories chronicling Joe’s adventures traveling the world on a bike (only man I know who had to outrun a charging elephant in Africa (true story I’ve seen the video!)). Most importantly, each story, standing on its own, made me want to get the bike and ride, regardless of the weather, time of day, or what I should have been doing.

Taken as a whole, all I can say is that I am glad (or am I) that this book wasn’t around when I was in high school. I am telling you, if it had been, there is a damn good chance this office jockey wouldn’t have gone to college. I’d have been cycling the United States and beyond, seeing and experiencing those things that can only be done on the back of 2 wheels. He inspires you to want to ride that much!

However, that is NOT the only reason t read this. I will tell you from experience, that many adventurers are NOT entertaining writers. Being interested in the quest has kept me performing my own death march through many a mountain climbing trip with the author.

NOT so with Joe. If you don’t laugh audibly at least once during this book (I woke up my wife a time or two reading in bed) you MIT want to take your pulse. Only Joe would find a hotel full of Elvises (Elvi?) dress like a scarecrow, have a friend MAKE him leave Aruba or be named Metal Cowboy by a blind man at a street corner.

What I like about the way he writes, is that even though cycling is the focal point (without the bike, it never would have happened) of each story, they aren’t mundane: I traveled this many miles, in this much time, with these winds and I saw…..

He is an excellent story-teller.  You know when he is on the bike, what he is feeling and whether is a good ride, or he is dying at the time.  You can feel the wind when it is there, and either curse or revel in it (depending on the direction it is blowing).  Better yet though, you find out what happens when he is OFF the bike (Kiefer Sutherland?   Really??).  Non of us spend 24/7 pedaling down the road, its nice to know what can await you when you lean the bike against a porch and it time to eat.

Want to fall in love with cycling all over again?  Want to honestly have a good time reading a book?  Even if you read it once, get the Metal Cowboy: Ten Years Further Down the Road Less Pedaled.  Better yet, skip Amazon and go to and order an autographed copy.  He also does a great presentation about his rides, I’ve only been lucky enough to see him once, but I will see him again, he speaks as well as he writes!