Classic Down Vest Failure

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I didn't know many of the SD gang but I sure liked the SD products.  I used to get the seconds at a reasonable price and give 'em away to family and friends. I had several of their down vests. 
In those days, circa 1970,  I used to haul sulfuric acid with moonlighting for Post Transportation (in Richmond on the Albany side of the (now gone) huge Safeway warehouse complex.  Most sulfuric acid and caustic soda is pushed out of those semi trailer tanks by somewhere around 30 psi of air.  There hose is connected to the trailer by a flange on the end of 2 inch pipe.  The driver (or unloader) lines up the hose flange with the tank flange sticks a thick neoprene gasket between the flanges and bolts them together with four half-inch stainless steel bolts.  But sometimes there's a slight leak.  Sulfuric acid is commonly recycled by the refineries in the SF Bay Area.  So I was blowing off a load of waste/spent sulfuric acid from the Benecia refinery (it was Exxon then and I think it's still partly Exxon) into the Stauffer acid plant on the Martinez side and beneath the Benecia bridge. 
The night was cool.  There was a very slight leak.  Normally one can detect a leak as the acid air will bother nose passages.  Anyway after I was done, I was returning to the yard in Richmond when all of a sudden my tractor was filled with down.  Needless to say ripstop is not impervious to sulfuric acid.  So that's my SD tragedy.  Otherwise my SD stories were probably all triumphs or at least not tragedies.  I'm glad it was night.  Motorists would have had a good laugh at the sight of a Kenworth full of feathers.
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by Author DonBraun


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