Six Italian Rotarians recently visited The Valley as part of an International Fellowship of Motorcycle Rotarians (IFMR) tour of New England.
They were led by tour leader Bill Sahlman of Pownal, Maine, on a 10-day tour of New England that took them to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. They came through The Valley last week on September 29 where they had lunch and visited local shops and sites before continuing the Vermont leg of their visit which took them to the Vermont State House, Morse Farm Sugarworks, the home of Rotary founder Paul Harris, The Vermont Country Store and more.
Sahlman said this trip was in the planning stages for a while and was delayed by COVID as well. Initially, there were to be 40 participants but by the time the tour materialized there were 10.
Sahlman is an experienced motorcycle tourist, having traveled with IFMR to Australia, Egypt, India, and South Africa. He said he enjoys the travel and the fellowship and really loves meeting new people and finding connections with them.
With his Italian visitors, while touring Maine, he introduced them to a friend who owns seven radio stations and is also a HAM radio operator who called Italy for them.
“On Bailey Island in Maine I introduced myself to some people and said I was riding with these Italians, one of whom, Claudio, is a retired vice admiral in the Italian Navy. One of the people I was talking to wanted to meet him because he was a lecturer at an Italian war college. From that point of view, it’s fun and real exciting. I tried to make sure as many people as possible got to meet them. It helps people to understand the importance of travel,” Sahlman said.
The riders rented motorcycles for the tour, one rented a Ducati, others rented Harleys, Sahlman noted.
“One guy didn’t realize that his license had expired and he was nervous about that and the bald tire on the back of his rental bike,” he said.
Sahlman arranged for the tour to stop at a Harley dealership to buy shirts and hats and made plans ahead of time for that bald tire to be replaced.
Continuing his efforts to create connections for the riders, Sahlman, after visiting the Paul Harris home, was talking to the tour guide there and she suggested they eat lunch at a local deli owned by an Italian woman who was very excited to meet the tour members.
“Meeting people is best part of the trip. Building relationships with people you wouldn’t expect to associate with every day is the fun part of these trips,” Sahlman said.