Sunday, December 27, 2015

GeoProfile: PROBOB

I think the most valuable part of geocaching are the friends I've met. 

I once attended a geocaching event in Essex County, Ontario. The waitress was confused - said she didn't understand the dynamics of this strange group. Here we were, 40 geocachers sitting at 2 long tables in the backroom of a pizzeria. We acted as if we were the closest of friends - warm laughter and telling of tall tales - yet we were asking questions normally addressed to complete strangers. What do you call yourself? Where are you from? There was a feeling of instant companionship.

Our community is like that. I've mentioned the diversity of our group before, and. with each. there is an interesting story beyond geocaching. Here's a holiday story.

Bob VanLue (aka PROBOB) and his wife, Candida, have been collecting their Christmas village since their marriage in 1999.  

Currently the collection consists of more than 100 houses spanning multiple banquet tables in his basement. 

The collection ranges from a ski lift scene to a Victorian street opposite a large harbor. He has a Ford dealership, a Cowboys football stadium, and even Santa's village at the North Pole.

As you step downstairs into the wonderland, you are drawn in by the changing lights, the carousel playing Christmas carols, and....

 The drive-in theatre playing It's a Wonderful Life.

That theater is located alongside... yes, that is an Elvis spotting!

A Christmas village wouldn't be complete without Graceland.

The Village took Bob (with help form his youngest daughter) 80+ hours to setup.  Due to the size and complexity, it's currently erected every 3 years and enjoyed during an invitation-only open house.

TaGeez and I were honored to be invited this year, but, we had other commitments so we regretfully missed this year's event. Luckily, Bob was kind enough to invite us over for a private viewing with Team TopKat yesterday. 

These pictures do not do the village justice (in fact I only photographed about a sixth of it) because I was so in awe of the wonderland! But it really did kickstart the Christmas spirit in me.

As many of his guests were geocachers, Bob added a special treat for us! Four caches - 3 ammo cans and a nano - hidden in the village! This was the first one I spotted!

Source: ProBob
I'm now determined to find one missing item for his and Candida's village: a 1/43 scale Tardis for the Victorian village. Every village should have one, don't you think?

PROBOB lives in Southeastern Michigan and has been a geocaching member since 2008. He currently owns 106 caches, including 30 event caches (most of which are cohosted with Geoconsumer in the Canton-area). And, to date, he has 7,789 finds. The three things I associate with PROBOB are:
  1. Always having a smile and a kind word.
  2. The ability to locate FTFs single-handedly in the dark of night.
  3. Ninja-like stealth skills in arriving at and leaving geocaching events without notice.

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