Driven: 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost Page 5

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The road home, almost

The exit for Torrey Pines is a deep, quick loop that ends in the valet stand outside the low, timbered entry. The Ghost had hardly been stressed, which made one of us. And I didn't dare spend much time in the almost lurid back seat, for fear I'd tuck myself in all the hides and woolen carpets and call it a night right there--though I'd pre-paid for a big king bed and some really swell-smelling amenities.

I'll describe the back for you in brief: it's the library you wish your Hamptons home had been built around. Open the rear-hinged rear doors to the Ghost's back seat, resist the urge to pop the in-jamb umbrellas from their housing (it's such elegant kitsch, I know, but try to maintain composure), and the back seat practically swallows you. In every direction, the veneers and leather remind you of investment-grade craftsmanship, even if you choose the gloss piano black that's become a cliche on much less expensive cars. Rolls-Royce thinks of the back seat as a lounge, and you may too, once you tune in the rear-seat entertainment to your liking, switch your zone of climate control to a personalized setting, and pull out a bottle of dry Champagne and crystal flutes from hidden chambers tucked away amidst all the finery.

We recommend you pull down the seat-mounted picnic trays, too--not because they're terribly useful at their size, but because it puts the punctuation on the sentence, screws the finial in place.

You'll pardon if I passed on too much time in back. Twelve hours total in transit, many of them spent on wireless Skype chats and Bluetooth-enabled phone calls, had drained all of my power reserves well before I consumed half of the Ghost's driving range. A pass of the keyfob and a tip to the attendants and I fairly staggered through the Lodge's exquisite wood-and-leather lobby, saving some of the time I had left on my internal clock by ordering dinner at the front desk and barely beating it to the room.

And afterward, the patio lights dimmed along with the rest of the room, I tossed the snow-white king pillows into a makeshift backrest, and flopped into bed just in time for a favorite L&O repeat. I haven't had the chance to get beyond the Ghost's driver's seat; I'd had the opposite of what traditional Rolls-Royce owners might normally experience.

Drifting in and out of TV land, I figured that was exactly as they'd planned. I know I'm planning for the next time I see a Ghost.

Only next time, for sure, I'm bringing a chauffeur.

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