The sun shown through the windows of the Hotel room as Aleu began to stir. She wriggled about in the bed trying to escape the mornings light. She groaned and then sat up. Her fur was a bit ruffled and messy and the wolf was drowsy. Then the arched her back and stretched out her arms and let out a big yawn. Although she slept well she was not used to sleeping without wheels beneath the floor. Then her ears picked up some noise. Actually it was a lot of noise! She quickly tossed on a shirt and headed to the window. The view looked directly out to the Yard and Depot and so many people were there! Both of the platforms at the depot were jammed packed with passengers coming into Wolf Creek! Trains bustled to and fro in the yard. And yet another train was pulling into the depot! Steam, Bells, and Whistles filling the morning air. Also to the side of the Depot were wooden bleachers, men were still working on them and the sounds of hammers hitting nails and saws cutting wood were heard. For the most part the wood of the bleachers was still bare though a few workers were in the process of painting them. Aleu stared in awe of the spectacle. Could this one event really be that big? It looked like half the Nation was there and still more were coming in!
God Im glad I dont have to work today! Aleu said to herself. She walked away from the window and prepared to clothe herself in her usual dress.
Mean while south of Wolf Creek the slim gauge rails of the GFRR were quiet and still. The morning breeze blew gently and a few birds twittered about. A Rocky Mountain Hare was wondering about looking for food. It hopped between the rails and found a few weeds poking up through the ballast. It began to feed but then paused. Its ears picked up and looked to the West. Quickly it then scurried off but shortly the ballast began to shake. Then a low rumble began to rise through the tranquility. Soon the roar of a locomotives stack emerged and from around the bend charged the Comanche. Up ahead was a crossing and A.J. let out the blasts of the whistle. Comanches flanges squealed quietly as she rounded the curve. Soon A.J. and train would come to the junction where theyd head North towards Wolf Creek.
Leach and Fiesta worked together to stoke Comanches fire box. Tossing shovel loads of coal in tandem. A.J. sat in his seat and paid close attention to his duties. Here A.J. and his crew were in there element. The only thing that could be missing was a female presence. Maybe one day Sakura could fire again, maybe, but A.J. accepted that she may not. At least, for the most part, A.J. gets to operate in local runs. The company knows that A.J. wants to be with his family as much as possible. Especially since his daughter is an infant. Occasionally A.J. will take a run that requires him to be away for a few days. Up ahead is the junction switch. A.J. eased off the throttle and the Comanche began to coast. This part of the line was fairly flat, thus less steam was needed to keep the train moving. A.J. pulled on the whistle cord to alert the junction ahead. Then a figure hurried out of the track side shack and to the switch stand. He took his time undoing the lock as A.J.s train was still a little ways off. The switchman lifted the lever and threw the switch. The GFRR only operates a single track main line. The junction is set up similar to a wye arrangement. The track A.J. is on is heading perpendicular to another part of the GFRR Right Of Way. This part of the line splits into a wye and connects to the rest of the main. Theres a siding to let another train though if needed if a locomotive needs to be turned around.
The switchman then lowered the lever and locked the switch in its position. The switchman backed off and A.J. again blew Comanches whistle. As the Yellow locomotive steamed by A.J. waved to his fellow Railroader and the switchman returned the favor. Steam hissed from Comanches pistons as the train rolled by, turning North towards Wolf Creek. Sakura looked out of the Cabooses window and she too waved to the switchman. Duke stood in a corner and looked at his watch and huffed. Fiesta helped A.J. keep an eye on the rear of the train. Once the Caboose cleared the switch Fiesta signaled A.J. who then opened up the throttle. The grade stared to get steeper and would continue to until the reached Wolf Creek.
Aleu had dressed and was now in Laurels, a popular place for railroaders to get a bite to eat before and after a run. Or just whenever theyre hungry. Aleu decided to try another meal popular with A.J. A Western Omelet she thinks its called. It was fairly simple. An omelet with diced or chopped ham with green peppers and onions smothered with American cheese. She cut a piece with her fork and took a bite. Again Aleu was surprised with A.J.s choice in foods. She had already ordered a second omelet and scarfed down the first one. Soon her second serving arrived and quickly she dug into it. Though this time she actually took her time. She had a copy of that mornings paper with her. She took a sip of coffee and flipped through the news. It was surprising; it was almost exclusively about Rail Fest! Virtually every page was about or related to Rail Fest. Some articles were about some of the contestants and some were about the Locomotives competing. Quickly she finished up her breakfast and began to make her way to the yard, which is if she can get passed all the people coming into town.