Mr. & Mrs. Oilpressure Take a Vacation

If you are a regular reader of this site, you know that two years ago – my wife, Susan, underwent treatment and surgery for pancreatic cancer. When things were looking so positive for her in spring of 2021, I told her if she got herself well, I would take her on a non-racing vacation to anywhere she wanted to go.

Since we’ve been married, our honeymoon is the only vacation we have taken that did not have a race weekend attached to it. We spent some extra time in southern California, when we went to Fontana in 2013. New Orleans is always fun, and we experienced some of that fun when we went to NOLA in 2015. When Road America returned to the IndyCar schedule, we spent a few days the next week relaxing in Michigan. We enjoyed the San Francisco area when we went to Sonoma in 2018. But other than the odd football weekend in Knoxville to see the Vols play – we’ve never taken a non-racing related vacation, since our honeymoon.

Once Susan finished treatment and her surgery was behind her – she was really feeling great in the second half of 2021. I kept asking her when she wanted to go on our trip. Her response was a non-committal “sometime”. I think she wanted to go, she just didn’t want to have to come up with the destination. I knew better than to do it myself. This was to be her trip. Plus, she was feeling fine. I guess she thought that would last forever.

Most of you know by now that it did not last forever. Starting in January, things went south in a hurry, due to an autoimmune disorder that developed from her chemo. She was still scanning cancer-free, but the disorder had attacked her liver and she was very ill. Susan spent almost the entire summer of 2022 in the hospital. From May 24 through August 28 – there were only fourteen total nights interspersed throughout the summer that she was home. There were a couple of points where I wasn’t even sure if she was going to make it. But as you also know, she did. Susan is very tough and she has made a nice recovery.

It’s amazing and frightening how liver toxins can affect the body. At the first of August, she could not walk and couldn’t even complete a sentence. At the end of August, she was walking quite well, thinking clearly and was finally back home. By early September, she was driving again and has now resumed pretty much all normal activity. When I look back to where she was in early August to now – it’s astonishing how much she has improved.

When I was at Gateway, it was obvious she was close to coming home. I think Susan realized that time is precious, and she should’ve taken me up on that trip while she was able to enjoy it last fall. She is feeling good again, but she now knows to never take that for granted. She took it upon herself to book a condo in Florida – right on the beach. She texted me while I was at Gateway, informing me of when and where we were going. She made all the arrangements. All I had to do was pay for it. That suited both of us.

We have an entire week booked on the gulf side of Florida, in North Redington Beach – just north of St. Petersburg, but south of Clearwater. Fortunately, for us, this area was mostly untouched by Hurricane Ian.

Our vacation starts today, Friday Oct 7. We will wake up and leave Nashville this morning at a decent and restful hour, and will drive to Valdosta, GA. Saturday morning, we will wake up whenever and drive the remaining 3.5 hours to our condo. Since it was not rented this week, we can check in anytime Saturday and not have to wait until the usually mandatory 4:00 pm check-in.

We have no plans, and no agenda. We just plan to rest, relax, enjoy the beach, eat a lot of seafood and most importantly – spend time with each other, without having to adhere to an IndyCar race weekend schedule. This is some well-deserved time-off that both of us need.

As for the site, I am going to take a break from here as well. This will be my last post until Wednesday Oct 19 – after we return home.

Thanks to everyone who kept Susan in your prayers throughout the summer. They apparently worked. If you’re thinking about a vacation with your spouse or significant other – do it! Don’t put it off. You never know what life has lurking just around the corner. Please come back on Wed Oct 19, when my batteries should be completely recharged.

George Phillips

16 Responses to “Mr. & Mrs. Oilpressure Take a Vacation”

  1. Have a great time.

  2. James T Suel Says:

    Well deserved, for both of you. Have a great relaxing time.

  3. Leslie Bissell Says:

    Have a great time George and Susan!

  4. Rick Johnson Says:


  5. So happy for you both! Have a wonderful time! – Patti

  6. jvolgarino Says:

    As a life long enthusiast that has made a point of experiencing every aspect of automotive culture and insanity, I share your thoughts about our spouses and how they have indulged our obsessions. But, like you, circumstance happens, ( a polite way of saying s**t happens) and we find ourselves realizing our most important partner deserves a respite and it’s time to fully engage with that most important person! Life is short!!! Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

  7. Gary Manes Says:


  8. Enjoy your time there. Nothing better than those sugar sand beaches on the Gulf Coast!

  9. Just got the biggest smile thinking about how much you two deserve this. So happy Susan has once again bounced back strong. Hope you have a really wonderful time. Take care!

  10. northeastvista Says:

    Our lives have so many similarities. Most of our vacations revolved around Indy Car races with additions before or after the race weekend. Fortuneately we did squeeze in a number of non-race vacations in between. Now that she’s gone I cherish all those memories. You both deserve the time off and I’m so glad Susan is well enough to travel. May you enjoy a safe and enjoyable trip. Perhaps we’ll get to say hello again at RA at The Depot!

  11. Blessings to you both 🙏

  12. Happy traveling. Enjoy your stay.
    It’s great to know your wife is doing that much better now she can go on such a trip.
    All the best

  13. billytheskink Says:

    Y’all have a great time! Travel safe.

  14. so many cheerful comments already
    I was born near Valdosta. I did triathlons in Redington Beach.
    You’ll find the drive from Valdosta to North Redington Beach will be more than three-and-a-half hours.
    But i wish for the best health and leisure and safety for both of you.
    I suppose that the Grand Prix of Saint Petersburg trackside advertising for Saint Petersburg and Clearwater vacations influenced Susan.
    Enjoy Florida again, and avoid sunburn.🌞

  15. Mark Wick Says:

    Since I don’t expect you to be checking your messages while you are away, I hope you had a wonderful time.

  16. Have a wonderful time together, Susan and George. You both need a well deserved break from racing. Cheers!!

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