OK, so it wasn’t a whole weekend – actually only about an hour and a half. But what a fun weekend it was!
We left on Friday morning for Silver Springs (just west of Ocala, FL) with another couple. We both took our motor homes and stayed at the RV part right across the street from Silver Springs Park. This was a very short drive, so we got there in time to do our setting up and then headed into Ocala for lunch.
Yes, it was another “food fest” kind of weekend. We had Thai food at a place we had eaten at once before. It was all good.
After a bit of “down time”, we got together to play cards. Our friends taught us a new game called “George”. It was lots of fun, even if it did take us a while to catch on. I think they were taking advantage of the “new guys”, cuz we weren’t even close to winning.
Then it was time for dinner. We went to another restaurant that Julian & I had visited in the past, called the Braised Onion. Another great meal! Julian says they serve the best fried chicken he’s ever had.
The campground held a breakfast on Saturday morning. For two dollars each, we got our choice of waffles or pancakes plus two sausages, coffee and orange juice. What a deal! And it was good, too.
Then it was time to take our chairs to set up for the afternoon concert at Silver Springs. We drove over and were inside the park by about 9:15am. We found what we hoped was a good spot and set up the lawn chairs to hold our place till the outdoor concert at 3pm.
We spent the next couple of hours walking the park and enjoying all its beauty. This park is “Nature’s Theme Park”. And this is one reason it’s called that.
Our first stop was the giraffe. We got there just as they were getting ready to feed him. But he was more interested in us and we got up close and personal. (Boy! Do giraffes stink!)
Then we took the Jeep ride through the back area of the park, something Julian and I had not yet done. It was a bumpy ride, but fun to see some of the other animals.
The next stop was the bear exhibit, one of the largest in the country. The bears were out and we enjoyed watching them. This guy had his breakfast and then took a bath. He weighs almost 1300 pounds. (Yeah, he can do whatever he wants!)
We ambled back to the front of the park and then took the glass bottom boat ride. Unfortunately, our captain was the least informative of any we’ve experienced in our times there. We still saw the sights and lots of fish and turtles.
It was lunch time, so we headed out of the park to a restaurant Julian found online, but we hadn’t gone to yet. It turned out to have really good food. Unfortunately, the crawfish special he’d read about was only on Sundays. But he thoroughly enjoyed what he had instead.
We all took a little down-time again before walking back to the park to see the concert. Our chairs were right where we’d left them and the positioning looked even better. Season pass holders (such as ourselves) are allowed into the park an hour before the public. So, when Julian counted, we were in the seventh row from the front of the stage. This is how close we were to the outdoor stage.
The show started promptly at 3pm. After a few quick announcements Glen Campbell came on stage… and the fun began. He sang all his old standards and a few songs off his new album. We all enjoyed it tremendously.
I don’t think his Alzheimer’s showed up very much. He occasionally needed to be prompted for the next song on the program. He messed up the words only a couple of times that I could tell. He uses prompters which were set at a mid-point, under the roof of the outdoor stage. He often came further forward to get “closer to his audience” and that was when he had a harder time. He seemed to handle it all with a lot of humor. We all loved it, and his illness just didn’t matter to anyone.
His daughter and two sons were in his band, playing and singing backup. At one point, Glen and his daughter, Ashley, did “Dueling Banjoes”. That man can still pick a guitar! There were no slip-ups there. And is daughter is very talented in her own right. She plays keyboards and sings in addition to playing the banjo.
As with most concerts, it was sad when the end actually came. He performed for well over an hour and that’s about as good as it gets. Here’s the group taking their final bow. The sons are wearing the black shirt (beside Glen) and a gray shirt (on the far right).
I would recommend seeing this “Farewell Tour” if you get the opportunity. It was a great time and songs were terrific. And, unfortunately, new chances won’t be coming our way.
After the show, we picked up our chairs and walked back across the street to our campground. Kudos to the park and the local police who had traffic direction which helped the masses get across the street without incident.
Our last dinner was at Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille. It was another culinary delight. We’d eaten there before at lunch, so this was our first dinner. It was every bit as good and very plentiful.
After our first home-cooked meal for Sunday breakfast, it was time to clean up, pack up and head home. What a great weekend it was!