Trains Get Mooned And The Party Continues In Mug’s Away Saloon
I am happy – actually thrilled is a more accurate word – that the Mooning Of The Amtrak is alive and well.
Sort of well, really. But still fun! It always has been fun and, apparently, always will be, despite efforts by the Orange County sheriff and Laguna Niguel City Council to throw a wet blanket on it.
So the Second Saturday of July is still sacred in this little piece of Southern California. The Mooning of the Amtrak still takes place and people still turn out for it.
I was curious about how the crackdown of a couple years ago had affected the event, so I went down to check it out on July 13, 2013.
The first thing that greeted me were a bunch of “No Parking” signs up and down both sides of the street that run parallel to the train tracks, Camino Capistrano. It used to be that cars would park here – it’s perfectly legal 363 days a year – but that’s no longer allowed. However, I easily found a spot in the parking lot where the host bar, the Mug’s Away Saloon, is located. That will likely not be the case if the event regains a bit of its popularity.
When I arrived, about 30 people were standing around the fence waiting on a train. And when the train came into view, the mooners scurried to line up against the fence. Backside facing the tracks, of course. When the train went by them, they dropped their shorts. And laughed. A few even waved at the passengers and conductor, who thoughtfully slowed down to make it last a while, and then blew the train’s whistle.
I then went inside the Mug’s Away Saloon – walked right in with no wait, and that was different when the event was at its peak – and it was jamming.
A band was playing rock covers, people were dancing and laughing and the bartenders were serving so many drinks – dressed in bikinis, as usual – it took a while to get their attention. One bartender too the bikini to a new level; she was not wearing the top half and had painted hearts on her breasts to conceal her nipples.
Now that’s a great way to get a tip in a biker/dive bar!
Overall, the mood of the Mooning was lively but pretty sedate by the train tracks. In the past, motorhomes camped out overnight and there were venders under pop-up tents selling t-shirts, water, sodas and even food. In 2013, there was only one vendor (he was selling Hawaiian banana bread).
This must have been what the event was like maybe 15-20 years ago before a couple thousand people came to it.
I had expected a huge sheriff’s presence but other than the occasional cruiser and motorcycle going by the site, they left everyone alone. There was really nothing for them to do, or anyone to bust or even warn, so it was good of them to let the people have some oddball fun. One officer even waved as he went by a group waiting for a train to arrive.
“Perhaps we should have mooned him,” a mooner suggested.
That mooner, by the way, had driven all the way from Tuscon, Arizona, with his wife for this event. “It’s been on our bucket list for 20 years, and we just made it this year,” he said. “We came a thousand miles to moon a train!”
Inside the bar there was a table of WWII and Korean War veterans. Which made me think what exactly was the problem with this event that caused the crackdown if if attracted American war heroes.
The answer, of course, is nothing was (or is) wrong with the event. As I wrote earlier, I’m thrilled it’s still happening, tho, and encourage people who love to have some silly fun for a couple of hours to check it out in 2014.