Monday, July 8, 2019

Mooning the Amtrak


This is it.  Saturday July 13.

For the past 40 years, people have been mooning the passing Amtrak train as it grinds past a little dive bar in Laguna Niguel named Mugs Away Saloon.  The bar sits across the street from the railroad tracks, and if you go on the second Saturday in July, everyone elbows for a spot along the chain link fence for the honor of dropping their drawers.
Photo Credit Chuck Coker, Flicker

While the story origin varies depending on who is talking, tradition say that on July 14, 1979 a crusty regular of the dive bar offered to buy a beer for anyone who dared bare their backside to the next passing train.  Ever since then, people have been flocking to Mugs Away for the annual event. So Steeped in tradition, the Amtrak actually slows down on that day as it passes by.

For a while, the spectacle was getting quite raunchy.  What started out as a little prank grew into a full-blown, frat party-like atmosphere.  People brought their RV’s to park in some of the nearby parking lots in order to reserve a spot, tailgate, and watch the fun.

Mugs Away Saloon is a small, stifling little room with insufficient air conditioning, and on the day of the event they hire a really bad nostalgia band.  No matter. No one comes for the music.  They barely come for the beer anymore.  They just want to watch the debauchery unfold.

A few years ago, the Laguna Niguel police department “cracked down” on the mooning, as too many people were showing much more than a brief flash of butt.  The following year, things were much more subdued, but as time has passed people continue the push the envelope.  Skimpy (but legal) attire is often on display, as passengers on the train cheer and give thumbs up to the crowd.

If you want to take part, plan to arrive early, and stay late: Planning on doing a drive-by isn’t suggested. Some years people are required to demonstrate they have business along the route in order to pass. These days, most of the local shops just shut down. 

The address for Mugs Away Saloon is 27324 Camino Capistrano, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

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