For 25 years, people have gathered in Laguna Niguel on the second Saturday in July to flash their butts at the passing commuter trains in front of the Mugs Away Saloon, a biker bar in an industrial park next to the tracks. (Rumor claims the first moon occurred in response to a train blaring at a bar patron who stumbled too close to the tracks.) But this year, after terrorist attacks in London sent American transit systems into Orange Alert, I wondered, would the extra security put a damper on this year’s festivities?

I bought an Amtrak ticket in San Juan Capistrano, and was a bit concerned that no one looked at either my ticket or my ID as I walked onboard. There was, however, a nice note on my seat that said, “Increased security measures are being taken in the stations, aboard trains and along the railroad.” What a relief!

As we left the station, the conductor made an awkward announcement that a “special salute” would be awaiting us soon, and that parents might not want their kids looking out the right side of the train. Of course, everybody, especially the kids, started looking out the right side of the train.

Minutes later, the train slowed and sounded its horn. Out the window, we saw two bodies in full moon pressed against a chainlink fence. Soon we saw a few more. Then a dozen more. And, oh my stars! By the time the Mugs Away was in sight, there were several hundred mooners with several thousand spectators egging them on. Butt after butt after butt, with an occasional titty and dick thrown in. It was like a Christo installation in the sheer scope of its ridiculousness, except there were asses instead of umbrellas.

Onboard, everyone was laughing, except for one older lady who kept asking, “Why are they doing this? Why? I just don’t get it.”

I made the return trip, got in my truck, and drove to the Mugs Away to find out.

If anything, the 26th annual Moon the Amtrak Day was a beer-soaked, blue-collar celebration of America. Red, white and blue flags, halter tops and thongs were proudly on display. The numerous bikers were all on American-built Harleys, not those foreign jobs. And while the Mugs Away does sell imported beer, I never saw anybody buy one.

Even the Marines were on hand with a recruiting booth in the parking lot, because intoxicated men and women who expose their tushes in public can apparently be among “the few, the proud . . . ”

When a train approached, I made my way to the fence and squeezed in between an overweight housewife and a shapely grad student. The train honked its horn and we all dropped trou.

“Al Qaeda would hate this!” one onlooker said.

And that’s when it hit me: Without Moon the Amtrak Day, the terrorists win.

LA Weekly