Mr. & Mrs. Oilpressure are Cruising!

Most of you know by now that the Open Test at COTA yesterday was mostly a non-event. Cold temperatures and drizzle did not make for a good test session. A few installation laps at slow speeds was about the only running that anyone did, before they called it a day just before 3:00 local time. That did give us a chance to see the new liveries and most importantly – our first real glimpse of the aero-screen on all the cars. Although I’ve been critical on how the car looks with this contraption – I’ll admit that I didn’t think it looked that bad while the cars were actually moving around. If you take a still-shot from head-on, that is just simply not a good look. But yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised how the cars looked while moving (although, not at speed). IndyCar will try again today, when the forecast looks better than yesterday’s.

If you’ll recall from my last post just before the end of last year, I revealed that I was giving Susan a cruise for Christmas. Since our honeymoon in 2012, she has let me know that we had never taken any type of a vacation that didn’t involve a race track. She hasn’t been whiney or complained about it, but she has put it out there that she would appreciate a non-racing related vacation. Hence, the Christmas present. Well, the time to go cruising has finally arrived.

Susan has never been on a cruise before, and I’ve been on one.

I can laugh about mine now, but in 1996 my then-wife and I went on a cruise to celebrate our ten-year wedding anniversary. We took a seven-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on what was then a four-month old ship, Holland America’s MS Veendam.


I never thought I would like cruising, but I had the time of my life on the ship that week. Never had I ever been pampered so much and it was the most relaxing trip I had ever taken.

There was just one problem. My wife (soon to be ex-wife) met a man from Boston halfway through that cruise. One week after we got back, she announced that she was going on a trip of her own to an unknown (to me, anyway) destination. As it turns out, she went to Boston for ten days to rendezvous with her new-found cruise friend. When she came back, she announced she was leaving and moving 1500 miles away to Boston. She said I could keep the house, the kids, everything – she just wanted out. So beginning in 1996, I became a single-dad to my two kids who were seven and eight at the time. I remained single until Susan and I married in 2012. So if some have thought I still show a little too much bitterness to my ex-wife in some of the comments I’ve made here over the years, you now know why. But I digress…

It took me twenty-four years to finally decide to go on another cruise. Some think I’m crazy, but I don’t think Susan is going to follow the path of my ex-wife on this cruise…at least, I hope not.

We are only doing a four-nighter for a few reasons. First, Susan says she gets motion sickness. We have been together since 2001 and I’ve never seen her exhibit any signs of motion sickness, nevertheless – I’d rather try her out on a shorter cruise than a longer one. In addition to that, I’m not sure she will like it as much as I do. She may love it or she may hate it. We’ll have to find out. The third reason is my lack of vacation time. Being in the contract world at work, I was forced to change employers (again) on July 1. I have been sitting in the same office for more than five years now, but I am on my third employer. It’s hard to build up vacation time when you keep changing employers. I want to save what I have for racing season this spring and summer.

Well, our cruise starts tomorrow. We actually fly out tonight and will spend tonight at Fort Lauderdale. Our ship, Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, sails out tomorrow afternoon.


We will be at sea Thursday night and all day Friday. When we wake up Saturday morning, we will be in Cozumel, Mexico. After spending all day in Cozumel on Saturday, we sail out Saturday night. We will be at sea all day Sunday (during the Daytona 500), and return to Fort Lauderdale Monday. There is a sports bar on board with satellite feeds, so I should be able to catch at least some of the race – but probably not much.

For the past month or so, I have driven Susan crazy by spending most of free time watching You Tube cruise videos on the TV in our den. It’s amazing how many videos exist on our ship alone. Opposites attract, and the difference in our personalities is showing. I like doing a lot of planning and research about our ship and cruising in general (and I’ve learned a lot). I now feel like I know where everything is on our ship before we even board. She hates that. She would much prefer to just walk onto the ship and be totally surprised. Surprises are very overrated, in my opinion.

I can’t think of a vacation I have needed more than this one. My work is getting crazy and I need to get away and relax. I now wish I had booked a longer trip, but you now know why I didn’t. But assuming this one goes well, a longer one may be in the works sooner than later.

With all of that in mind, there will be no posts here Friday Feb 14 and Monday Feb 17, while we are cruising. I also know myself enough to know that I won’t feel like writing when we first get back. If I post anything here for next Wednesday Feb 19, it will only be to discuss our cruise and share a few photos of our trip. It will take me a few days to get my sea legs back and catch up with what has been going on in the IndyCar world. My next racing-related post here will be Friday Feb 21.

So as you’re enjoying Valentine’s Day and Monday’s President’s Day weekend; think of us sailing in the tropics without a care in the world – at least for four days. After our return, I just need to make sure that Susan takes no road trips to Boston – or else I’ll be in big trouble. Bon Voyage!

George Phillips

14 Responses to “Mr. & Mrs. Oilpressure are Cruising!”

  1. Have fun kids! And please do share stories and photos when you return.

  2. Went to Boston nearly 30 years ago. Logan Int’l Airport was filthy and overcrowded. Traffic was a nightmare as the city was going through “The Big Dig” project. I was devastated to see Cheers bar was nothing like the Cheers on the tv show. I’ve always disliked their sports teams. And now………….George has given me yet another reason to dislike Boston!!!!!!!!!! haha!

    Enjoy your vacation! Hope you have a wonderful and memorable time!

  3. billytheskink Says:

    You all have fun now. We’ll still be over here talking about the aeroscreen…

  4. Wow George! Gives a whole another meaning to “Please come to Boston”. Hope you enjoy this cruise…..a much more memorable one I’m sure!

  5. Well, IndyCar didn’t go to Boston but to Watkins Glen instead. The latter sure enough was a surprise.

    Happy traveling to both of you!

  6. Have a wonderful time, you two!! I have never taken an ocean cruise, but I so enjoyed river cruising on the Danube a few years ago. Here’s to great weather and calm seas.

  7. Have a great time George and Susan!

  8. Hope you had a great vacation, George. 100 days until the Indy 500 – I’ll see you somewhere along the way, hopefully at Gateway again in August. Best wishes for relaxation, and thanks for your blogging thoughts on the sport we love.

  9. Talón de Brea Says:

    Great Valentine’s weekend getaway! The time will go by too fast, so even if Susan doesn’t enjoy being on a ship, the ordeal won’t drag on too long … but how can it be an ordeal? Something for everyone on a cruise, from napkin-folding classes to bingo to gambling to dancing to professional (if not A-list) entertainment to just sitting quietly in one of the lounges during the day and reading or blogging or whatever … lots of people-meeting and people-watching, if desired, or just chilling on a floating resort. The ships keep getting bigger and more like floating malls, so cruises are basically ship travel for people who don’t want or need to know they’re on a ship. They’re desperate for you to have a good time, and almost everyone does. I predict another cruise in Mr. and Mrs. Oilpressure’s future …

    The only less-than-great time is packing up the night before leaving the ship and then getting off upon your return, but that’s a small price to pay.

    Susan, are you going to be wearing a Dramamine patch (or whatever they use today), if you’re concerned about seasickness? Remember to have at least some food in your stomach (hardly a problem on a cruise!) and keep your eye on the horizon if the motion is distressing.

    Both of you have a great time!

  10. George you will come back to some big news from Roger Penske when you return if you have not seen it already on

  11. Oh, I know. We have internet on board. I’ve read all about it. Thanks! – GP

  12. Post some photos when you get back. Enjoy the well deserved vacation.

  13. Britindycarfan26 Says:

    While I’ll miss the old open cockpit look trust me the indycar is so much better then the f1 halo and I’m a British f1 saying this.

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