After getting a patch on my tire, we left town around 10:30. We crossed the 49th parallel at the scenic Lago Cardiel with snowcaps and turquoise waters.
Ruta 40 is being paved in an ambitious project, and we were hoping that we might be able to ride more asphalt than was indicated on the maps. In two years or so there won't be much dirt left on 40 in the south. This year there was more than enough to go around. In some ways the presence of the construction may have complicated matters: often the road was a rough temporary track to allow continued circulation while they worked to build up, grade and pave the main road; I also suspect that investment in maintenance may have declined given the imminent arrival of the asphalt road. In some spots we were able to ride on the new roadway and did so even though there were berms to prevent entry; Peter got temporarily stuck making one such entry.
About 100 kms north of Calafate we came to Lago Viedma with the view of Cerro Torre and Cerro Perito Moreno. Stunning.