"It's eight-and-a-half million years old and, I mean, this is a minute's time with the river. What we call our great in-depth history is not history to the river. It's just a minute's time and so the river is still as mysterious and can do what it wants to."

Smokey Knowlton talking, Yuma River Tours. Ah, over the years Smokey and his family have been good friends and shown us a lower Colorado River most folks don't know a lot about.

They take tours on jet boats that can scoot along in less than four inches of water, traveling up a slow meandering ribbon of life.

Ah, an American Bald Eagle casually hanging out on a sandbar. Great Blue Herons. Snowy Egrets.

And the early morning chill of a fast boat ride on a part of the Colorado River not a lot of folks even realize is here.

Well, the latest Knowlton Project is back at the end of a windy channel on the Arizona side of the river, a few acres that they bought overlooking the river.

"I mean right now we're trying to make a lunch stop. See. Right now we're trying to get everything so we got enough shade for when it starts warming up, but eventually we want to put a lodge over here.

"A river museum is what I've always wanted so we're combining everything together. And we want, of course, to make it blend with the river. We don't want it to stand out. We want it to be an interpretation of where we can come up and share some of the history of the Colorado River.

"No, I think that me and the river are part of each other by now. The history is around the water and that makes it fun, also. Fun to share."

Winter here on the lower Colorado is not winter as most folk define it. Winter here is cool nights and pleasant days as opposed to 100 degree, oppressive, humid days in the summer. So it is an excellent time to get out on the river and see what it has to offer.

The river here is an amzaing place. All manner of wildlife has migrated in here to spend the winter. The shores are historical monuments of more than a thousand years of human habitation...from the earliest Indians to steamboat traffic to miners and military occupation. And the Knowlton's are encyclopedias of information.

The Knowlton family's love of boating combined with a lifetime spent on the water has created a lifelong dedication to the preservation of the legendary history and beauty of a section of one of America's greatest rivers. It was from this dedication that Yuma River Tours was created. More than a commercial enterprise, Yuma River Tours is a family whose desire is to share their love of the river with others.


They actually leave from Martinez Lake north of Yuma, Arizona, USA. In Yuma, find your way to highway 95 north toward Quartzsite. Go 21 miles to the turn-off to Martinez Lake. The turn-off is just past the main gate to the Army's yuma Proving grounds. But DON'T turn into the proving grounds, you'll meet armed Military Policemen. At the Martinez Lake road you can only turn one way, left, or west. It's 10 miles to the store at the docks and that's where you meet Ron or Smokey Knowlton.

For info, call them at 928-783-4400. www.yumarivertours.com