“Historic” Hooters now reopened, complete with company museum

Who knew that a Hooters restaurant could be considered “historic?” But that’s exactly how the company, famed for its guy-centric combo of bosomy waitresses and spicy chicken wings, is billing the reopening of its original location in Clearwater, Fla.

The Hooters Management Corp. empire, which spans 44 states, 27 countries and once encompassed an airline, began as a beach bar concept on Clearwater’s Gulf to Bay Blvd in October 1983 (yes, that means that next year we might see tight 30-year commemorative tank tops).

The original location shut down for a remodel last November and has relaunched with 7,000 square feet and 35 HD-flat screen TVs. Besides the ability to see a sports game from most vantage points, the restaurant now has a MuSEEum chronicling its history. Memorabilia in the muSEEum range from postcards from the Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas – soon to be on the auction block – to a chicken costume that the founders once wore to drive in business.

Travel writer Chris Gray Faust writes about Value Luxury vacations on her website, Chris Around The World.

Six things NOT to do when renting an RV

Forget your trailer park misconceptions: If you’re planning a long haul road trip, either in the U.S. or abroad, renting an RV may be your most cost-effective way to travel.

At least that’s what my husband and I found when we took a 24-foot-long campervan through the South and North islands of New Zealand last fall. Not only did we have more freedom to go where we wanted without waiting for buses or trains, we saved money on eating out – and had fun meeting other travelers at our campsite each night.

RVing does have its pitfalls, however, and we noticed plenty of them on our week-long trip. Here’s a few things that could inject a sour note into your open road opus:

Rent the biggest vehicle you can find. You might see this trip as a time to indulge your Big Rig fantasies. But you’re much better off renting a smaller campervan that handles well, particularly if you’re going anywhere that involves twisty roads or mountain overpasses. Smaller RVs are also better on stretches of open highway, where strong winds can push your vehicle around the road.

Ignore vehicle briefings. Our campervan came with a DVD that cut off halfway through the instructions. “We’ll figure it out,” said my husband, who was eager to hit the road. Ha. Those 15 minutes we saved by leaving the parking lot early were nothing compared to the hour it took us to figure out how to dump out the sewage. Never again.Pack too much stuff. Most campervans have elaborate storage systems, with cubby drawers, hidden compartments and spaces under seats to place your things. Which you’ll need, because if you don’t put your hiking shoes away, they will become projectile missiles during the next curve in the road.

We passed several RVs that looked stuffed to the brim, with stressed-out people in the driver’s seat. Only bring the basics; most RVs come with all of the dishes, silverware, bedding and towels that you’ll need.

Fail to check your surroundings. The scene unfolded like one from a Chevy Chase movie: Our mouths screamed “Nooooo” as a neighbor pulled out of his campsite with his RV electrical cord still hooked up to the outlets. The resulting noises were not pleasant. If you’re absent-minded, write your debarkation routine on a slip of paper that you review each morning.

Annoy your neighbors. RVers are an early bunch, with many hitting the road before dawn. You’ll be the star of the holiday park if you invoke MI6 agent stealth and leave noiselessly, without rattling all of the recycling bins (you know who you are).

Once you’ve selected your campsite for the night, it’s also considered poor etiquette to walk too close to your neighbor’s vehicle. Saying hello at the communal BBQ pit is fine, lurking outside someone else’s windows isn’t. And when that van is rocking, definitely don’t go knocking.

Plan a packed itinerary. Sure, you could take 72 hours to criss-cross Arizona. But where’s the fun in that? Plan two-day or three-day stops at RV parks so you have time to leave the vehicle and see the sights. Otherwise, you might as well fly.

Travel writer Chris Gray Faust writes about Value Luxury Vacations on her website, Chris Around The World.

Ultimate RV Family Vacation