Across the Arizona Desert (story arc)
The sheriff, knowing that Steven would refuse to call the race off, has asked Mountain Tim, a trustworthy cowboy and bounty hunter, to investigate the crime scene. He appears, flirting with Lucy, and uncovers two clues: first that the culprit's horse has a recognizably dented horseshoe, secondly that the murder caused a button to eject itself from a victim's jean. Mountain Tim also mentions a mystic place which is rumored to grant strange powers to those crossing it.
Some time later, the competitors are aligned at the starting line of the 2nd Stage: a 2,000 km long crossing of the Arizona Desert. Gyro and Johnny discuss the other competitors and the stage, noting among other things that they should head north initially to the first water point then head east to the second water point.
At 10:00 AM the 26th of September 1890, the 2nd stage begins. Suddenly Gyro veers north-east, and Johnny understands with consternation that Gyro is looking for another short-cut by crossing 150 km of the Arizona Desert without water. Johnny follows Gyro nonetheless, and both are followed by competitor Mrs. Robinson, whose horse happens to have the same dented horseshoe as the murderer.
In the middle of the desert, Johnny and Gyro argue about the Italian's poor sense of orientation while they are followed by Mrs. Robinson from a good distance. Suddenly they are attacked by cholla's thorn, the chollas being cacti which propel their thorns at high speed with the faintest stimulation. The duo understands that Mrs. Robinson is attacking them somehow and try to flee. Johnny is then unhorsed and badly hurt by chollas thorns, prompting Gyro to confront Mrs. Robinson. Mrs. Robinson attacks Gyro with the chollas, using insects he breeds in his eyesocket to stimulate the cacti, but the Spin's vibration allow Gyro to control the chollas too, and every cholla in the vicinity propels their thorns toward Mrs. Robinson, defeating him.
- 013 (765). The Sheriff's Request to Mountain Tim
- 014 (766). Across the Arizona Desert: Continuing Along the Shortest Route