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Text and photos by Allan Karl

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 Leucadia, Calif.--Rather than compromise his vision by using traditional publishers who wanted to simplify his book, author Allan Karl decided to turn to crowdfunding for the printing of the first-edition of his new book. Beginning today, Allan Karl’s book, FORKS. A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection is available for pre-order on Kickstarter. 
The book brings to life a three-year global adventure in a unique oversized, full-color, hardcover book. FORKS has been three-years in the making and includes more than 500 color photographs, stories of extraordinary people, their culture, personal connection and 40 recipes from all over the world.
“The best way to experience the world,” says Karl, “is to see it through photographs, to feel it through stories of connection and culture, and to taste it in the real local food.” FORKS incorporates original photography and food to complement and enhance Karl’s stories of adventure, discovery and human connection. “I dedicate this book to every passionate adventurer, traveler, dreamer, home chef, and motorcyclist”, he says.
The book, along with collector-edition postcards, photographic prints, personalized coaching sessions and keynote speeches are some of the rewards that supporters can expect from pledging on Kickstarter. An intimate dinner party is another of Karl’s rewards. “I would love to travel to your home, help prepare meals from the book and share more stories of adventure”, adds Karl. Rewards start at $10, and books can be pre-ordered for as little as $45. 
For three years Karl rode his BMW GS motorcycle more than 60,000 miles over five continents, through 35 countries. As with any adventure there were highs and lows. While in Bolivia he crashed and broke his leg, in the Colombian jungle he was escorted to a remote waterfall at gunpoint, and the governments of Syria and Sudan had to be pleaded with for passage through those countries. 

Karl hopes that FORKS—A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection inspires readers to be open to new experiences. “Every photograph, story, and recipe from this journey embodies the importance of connecting with people—humanity—and overcoming obstacles, and conquering our own personal fears”, says Karl.  “This book presents readers an opportunity to try something new,” says Karl. “Perhaps to taste flavors of a new food or to journey into dangerous or unknown territories. Every experience is an opportunity to connect with others.”

FORKS is published by WorldRider Publishing and Press. 
· Digital Media Kit:
I have a 30 second video where I introduce the name of the book — if you want to check it out:
–Allan Karl
Author | Photographer | Digital Marketing & Brand Strategist | Author
P.O. Box 232356
Leucadia, CA 92023-2356
949-891-2661 | phone
EXCLUSIVE Story for Bikernet, written by Allan Karl
Asking For Change When Bribing A Latin Police Officer

The stories of corrupt cops in Latin America are splattered across dozens of travel blogs and forums, so months before crossing the border into Latin America, I make a deal with myself: never bribe, always negotiate. 

So far, the armed and uniformed hyper-fast-Spanish-speaking officers at police and military checkpoints have been unsuccessful in their attempts to extort a bribe from me. With my command of the Spanish language improving with every mile, my confidence grows. I believe I can talk my way out of most anything. 

Today, I am enjoying some of the best roads in Central America. As I wind my way through narrow and twisting turns, through palm and banana plantations and then across single-lane wooden bridges shared with railroad tracks, the sun blazes down. The slight breeze filtering through the vents in my riding suit is refreshing but barely keeps me cool. When I ride up to a line of slow-moving vehicles, the temperature inside my suit soars.

What's the hold-up, I wonder. Beyond the curve, I see: An ancient miniature Renault station wagon, carrying a half-dozen more people and chickens than it should, hobbles at barely 20 miles per hour. Not only is it overloaded, the rear wheels are two different sizes. One by one, the cars ahead of me pass the turtle in this creeping parade. Then I pass.

As I accelerate the breeze cools me, offering relief.

I am startled by staccato honking from a vehicle zooming up behind me. It’s a police officer, riding an old 600cc Yamaha motorcycle. Its vintage red bubble-gum lamp, on top of a three-foot high stanchion, is spinning. 

I smile and nod, and when he raises his hand and points at me, I do what all motorcyclists do when crossing paths with another rider: I wave back and continue to ride. 

He honks and motions with his hand again. I honk back, smile, nod, wave. Through the dirty face-shield of his badly scuffed helmet I see he’s frustrated. He beeps three more times and, with determined animation, points to the side of the road.

Uh oh. I pull over.

He barely looks at my passport, international driver’s license, and motorcycle import papers before stuffing them inside the zipper of his jacket. He points to the bags on my bike and then to his eyes. He wants to look. I unlock the bags and he pokes around.

When I address him formally, in Spanish, he starts talking faster. I know what he’s saying but keep shrugging. “Como?” (huh?) 

“Linea doble! Linea doble! No cruce la línea doble!” (don’t cross the double line.) 

I shrug.

He pulls a small note pad from his back pocket and scribbles a sketch of a two-lane road with two lines down the middle. He then draws a line crossing those two lines and back. “Linea doble! No cruce!” 

Okay. He got me. I did cross the double line. But what about the six cars that did the same seconds before? Did he just happen to see me? I think not. 

He pulls out another note pad, this one with loose sheets of carbon paper that he slowly fits between pages. He looks at me, waiting. I say nothing. 

It’s clear he wants a bribe. I stay silent. He shoves the note pad back into his pocket. 

“Vamos a la estación de policia.” (we’re going to the police station.) 

What he doesn’t realize is that I have what most tourists and travelers don’t: time. I’m excited and happy to go to and experience a Central American police station. 

“Vamos,” I agree. 

He’s frustrated again.

“No recuerdo,” he says (I forgot). He suddenly remembers the police station is closed for three days. He’ll have to hold my documents until then.

I don’t believe him, but I realize I’m beat. I must pay my way out. I did break the law. 

But I have only one bill in my pocket. It’s the equivalent of about 20 dollars, a lot of money to him and much more than he’d accept to give back my documents and let me go. There's no way I want to give him my last $20.

As I pull out the bill, I blurt in Spanish that my wallet has been stolen and this is the last of my money until I can get to a city. I plead with him that I need to buy fuel.

I ask him if he has change.

He’d take five dollars, but there’s a big bill in the palm of my hand and a gringo in his. He simply shrugs. He says he has no money.

We are at both ends of our respective rope. So I ask if I can go. I am appealing to his humanity, or so I hope. When he is just about to say yes, I sense he has another idea.

He grabs the two 1.5L spare fuel bottles he has seen in my bags and walks over to his police bike. He disconnects his fuel line and fills both of my spare fuel bottles.

What can I do? I hand him my only bill and continue my journey south. He beat me.

But that was the last time I ever bribed a police officer.

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