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Early Fall HOWA 2012

Batman’s hideout

Situated in the gently rolling, densely wooded countryside of St. Joseph Island, Ontario, is a 100-acre slice of seclusion: a retreat from reality for plumbing contractor Bill Batman and his wife, Cheryl.

A Bobcat 3400 utility vehicle
purchased from McDowell Equipment,
enables Bill and Cheryl Batman to go
off the beaten path to explore new
areas on their 100-acre property.

A Bobcat 3400 utility vehicle purchased from McDowell Equipment, enables Bill and Cheryl Batman to go off the beaten path to explore new areas on their 100-acre property.

As outdoor enthusiasts, Bill and Cheryl Batman were first attracted to St. Joseph Island for its unspoiled natural beauty. As an avid hunter, Batman was motivated by the abundance of wild game. Cheryl, also an outdoor adventurist in her own right, loves snowmobiling, boating and four-wheeling. Yet as owners and principal operators of Batman Plumbing — the company they founded in 1983 in nearby Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario — the true appeal of their 100-acre wooded island escape, in addition to year-round adventure, is tranquility.

“We are opposites from most of the others who visit the island,” Batman says. “The majority of people come to St. Joseph Island in summer and early fall. We make it our permanent home during the winter. There are so many activities we enjoy doing together year-round, but we find our cottage here to be a very special place in the winter. Less people, more wildlife and unbridled adventure … we love it.”

In addition to the large boat the Batmans use to traverse the pristine waters of nearby Lake Huron — and the couple’s spring and summer weekend home — the couple also has his and hers snowmobiles, and a host of other recreational and work vehicles. Among their favorites is a Bobcat® 3400 4x4 utility vehicle they purchased. Batman became a fervent supporter of Bobcat equipment several years ago after purchasing his first compact excavator to help lessen the back-breaking labor from digging and excavating trenches for installing water and sewer lines. That was five Bobcat excavators and 13 years ago.

Recreational companions

In 1994, while exploring sites for what the Batmans intended to be a hunting camp, the couple happened upon what they both agreed was the perfect getaway. The heavily wooded island acreage is more than just a hunter’s paradise; for the Batmans, it is also their winter wonderland. Having since expanded the original structure several times, what began as a modest hunting lodge has been transformed into the couple’s dream cottage and eventual retirement home.

The utility vehicle’s cargo box is the perfect
place to load and carry tree limbs and other
materials on the Batman property.

The utility vehicle’s cargo box is the perfect place to load and carry tree limbs and other materials on the Batman property.

“It’s where we plan to retire,” Batman says. “But until then, we spend the entire winters there. Most people flock to their cottage in the summer, but we’re just the opposite. Winter is a great time to be there. We like all the activities, and especially the tranquility and seclusion. It’s great for hunting and exploring woods and trails; very picturesque.”

A couple of years ago, after learning Batman was on the hunt for a rugged recreational/work companion of the equipment variety, his Bobcat sales representative with McDowell Equipment, Sudbury, Ontario, appeared at the cottage yard with a new Bobcat 3400 4x4 utility vehicle.

“He just showed up one day, dropped off the 3400 utility vehicle and said I should give it a try,” says Batman. “It never made it back to the dealership.”

With the cottage situated in a 100-acre parcel of land — primarily woods — the Bobcat 3400 utility vehicle has been a great help in clearing much of the property and blazing several new trails.

“It has been a lifesaver for removing trees, hauling stumps and brush, a whole variety of chores,” Batman says. “The 3400 was also very useful in building the driveway that leads to the cottage. But aside from being a workhorse, it is also our hunting and exploring vehicle. Everybody in the family enjoys operating it. It seems like our 3400 utility vehicle is running all the time; it runs very well, too.”

Bill and Cheryl Batman unload debris with the help of their Bobcat 3400 utility vehicle.

Bill and Cheryl Batman unload debris with the help of their Bobcat 3400 utility vehicle.

Batman purchased the 3400 utility vehicle with the camouflage package, mostly because he likes the way it looks, but also because he says it is a very practical and versatile machine. “It blends in with the woods and brush,” he says, “but it is also very efficient and powerful. The 1,100-pound capacity dump box is excellent. We use it for outdoor activities and work.”

And the retirement timeline?

“The plan is four years,” Batman says. “That’s according to my other half anyway! But until retirement becomes official, Cheryl and I have a great life. We work hard, sure, but we also have a lot of fun doing the things we both enjoy. We’re on the lake all summer and in the woods during the winter. It won’t be long now before the acreage will become our permanent retirement haven. And Bobcat equipment will be right there with us.”