More than 80 years after Americans first got their kicks on Route 66, travelers are still ambling down the "Mother Road" from Chicago to L.A.. The first drivers typically cruised in old jalopies, but a group from New Jersey recently revved it up a notch, driving the 2,467 miles on their Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

But before getting to their western destination at the Pacific Ocean, the gregarious gang of 31 stopped for a California-style barbecue at the home of Ron and Karen Brown on Arrowhead Lake Road in Hesperia. The Aug. 28th feast, which was held on the Brown's sprawling, rustic property near Hesperia Lake, featured barbecued tri-tip, baked beans, broccoli salad, shrimp appetizers, fresh fruit and more.

"He is crazy inviting 31 bikers to his house," joked Jessica Herdon of Oceanport, N.J.

The truth is that despite the leather motorcycle jackets, today's Harley riders aren't the stereo-typical, rough-tough types. The Garden State group included attorneys, entrepreneurs, firefighters, retired police officers and others with enough disposable income to purchase a bike costing $10,000 to $30,000.

"We're mostly yuppies," said Ben Acaster, a retired police officer from Allendale, N.J. "Who can afford a Harley?"

While many rode alone, Dan and Sherri Dearing rode together on the trip, which ran from Aug. 18 through Sept. 1, to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

The historic trip had many highlights--the dramatic vistas of the Grand Canyon, stunning scenery in Oatman, Ariz. and the St. Louis arch, to name a few of the most memorable--but the most dramatic came during a rainstorm in Texas.

"This storm is coming right toward us," Acaster recalled. "A police officer said, `This storm is going to hit, and you don't want to be here when it does.'"

The group collectively put their pedals to the metal, with the officer waving them on, until they got under an overpass to hide out.

"We waited out the storm. It was coming down in buckets. We had our hands full."

After leaving Hesperia, the group rode to Rialto to sleep in rented Native America-style tipis. The following day, they rode to the Santa Monica pier to conclude the official portion of the Route 66 trek.

But instead of ending the trip, the 31 riders began a three-day trip up scenic Route 1 to San Francisco. After a day of sight-seeing, the group loaded up their bikes, went to the airport, and headed back home.

"This is a motorcyclist's dream," rider Shari Ives said during the barbecue.