We are back over 600km today and as we left Perm, apparently the most northerly point on the route (might explain the weather), heading for Kazan we were not aware just what a ling day this would turn out to be. Not too long out of town we were heading off road again for a number of back to back timed stages on mud and clay that turned out to be extremely good fun. But that was the end of the fun for the best part of the day as we returned to some of the worst roads since Mongolia. Short (very short) stretches of smooth tarmac became open cast mines at the drop of a hat. So much so that it was impossible to relax on the smooth bits as you knew they wouldn’t last and any one of the holes could swallow the car whole – or at least enough of it to signal another ignominious ride into town on a pick up truck – though that option did get more appealing as the day wore on.

Thanks to Gerard Brown for the use of the Perm town sign image.

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