KANKAKEE, Ill. | It hasn't necessarily involved baseballs or fishing poles, but there has been some serious father-son bonding going on at the Kankakee Valley Park District's Bird Park this summer.
For David Gerson Jr., of Bradley, Ill., and his son, David Gerson III, the connection has been "crawlers."
Not the bait, night crawlers, but those remote control models built to crawl up rocky inclines.
"We would like to come two or three times a week," the 29-year-old senior partner said.
"And I'd stay all day if we could," the 9-year-old junior partner said.
But the batteries do run down in two or three hours. They bring spares, too, but the steering was giving the son's 11.4-inch wheelbase SUV a little trouble. This was not going to be the all-day visit the younger operator wanted.
The pair also practice their climbing skills in a backyard practice field and at Kankakee River State Park. When the batteries are down, they keep busy with the Midwest Scale Crawlers Club that Dad founded. His son was the first member, and 359 others followed suit on the group's Facebook page.
But there's little time for thinking about those indoor matters on a nice summer day. The younger partner was busy explaining the need for very slow, but powerful gears to lift the 6-pound climbers up the rugged rock walls near the Don Palzer Bandshell. Good suspension parts are also critical, he added.
Dollars matter, too, Dad noted.
"These kits can start around $250," he said. "We build them ourselves. I taught him how to solder a little. "You can easily invest like $350. And it's not unusual to see the competition (crawlers) get up to $1,000 or more."
The junior partner noted, "We haven't been to any of the competitions. We just have a lot of fun here."