Side Trip: Ranch Road 2341 to Buchanan Lake


The night before this drive, I was scouring the internet, looking for possible places to see as I drove through the Texas Hill Country.  One post, somewhere in cyberspace, recommended Ranch Road 2341, a curvy two-lane backroad that traveled out to the northern end of Buchanan Lake.  It sounded like a worthy side-trip, so I decided to give it a try.

There were a couple of things working against me having an awesome experience on Ranch Road 2341.  First, the weather was grey, as you can see.  Cloudy skies never make lakes beautiful.  Second, I was visiting the area just a few weeks ahead of wildflower season.  By early April, I probably would have found a lot of bluebonnets blooming along the side of the road, which would have made the drive a lot more beautiful.

Without blue skies, and without the flowers, the drive out and back was pretty much a waste of my precious driving time.  Most of the lakeshore is occupied by homes or private RV parks…

… and I only found one good place to access the shore.  This was my only stop during the entire drive out to the end of Ranch Road 2341, and back.

On the way back, my GPS found a detour, on Ranch Road 690, also known as Little Midland Dorbandt Road or County Road 114.  The unmarked road followed the shoreline more closely than Ranch 2341, and dropped me back on TX-29 a little further west, near Buchanan Dam.

Just beyond the dam on TX-29, there’s a small public-access beach, where you can see Lake Buchanan…

… and one of the huge turbines that the dam’s hydroelectric plant uses to generate electricity.  This particular water wheel was in service from 1941 to 1985 at the Mansfield Dam, near Austin.  Its weight, 46,800 pounds, made me wonder why they hauled it all the way up here, to this dam, just to display it.

This particular spot was especially unpleasant on this particular day, thanks to a howling, cold wind that was blowing off the lake.  I hurried back into the car, and got back on the road, headed towards Llano.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive out Ranch Road 2341, then back down to Buchanan Dam, and on to Llano.

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