Jack Thompson and Royal Gardens, Hawaii 2006

Click on any picture to view a larger image. Photos by John M. Wilson

Appalachian Cave Home      Wilsonj.Home

Jack Thompson has remained in the Royal Gardens subdivision for more than 25 years; even as the lava flowed around him and all the other residents left. He commuted to a job in Hilo for about 10 years; changing his route over the lava as necessitated by the changing flows. Jack officially runs a bed and breakfast in his house, and people can make reservations with one of the helicopter companies to visit for an hour or to stay overnight. Jack would not disclose his occupancy rate. All indications are that he gets almost no overnight guests and few other visitors. Visiting hikers, such as our group of Don, Mary, and I are also somewhat rare, Jack reports. 

Charles "Chuck" Bondurant also lives in Royal Gardens; however, he has left the subdivision to pursue other interest from time to time and does some traveling. Chuck is pictured below on his motorcycle which is the preferred form of transportation in the neighborhood. He comes over once every two weeks to get a container of drinking water from Jack who has, by far, the best cistern system. Both neighbors prefer his drinking water, which is collected off the upper roof and stored in a separate tank.

We met the third resident of the subdivision on our way out, also on a motorcycle, but he did not give his name.


The view from inside the abandoned cabin. An abandoned cabin in Royal Gardens is visible from the road. The porch has fallen off this building so it is difficult to enter. The conditions inside are such that most people would want to anyway.  I will spare you the details.