Went flying today.
When I got to the airport at 9:45am, the winds were maybe 8 knots. When I finished getting a weather briefing and flight planning, they were maybe 10 kt. When I finished preflighting the airplane and fueling, they were maybe 12 kt. When I taxied out onto the end of the runway after making my departure call, I sat there for perhaps two minutes because I could see a flock of birds crossing the far end of the runway a few hundred feet up - right where I would be if I was taking off.
When I checked the wind prior to my takeoff roll, the windsock was directly across the runway and the cone was straight, albeit not directly horizontal. This indicates (on 7B2's windsock) that the windspeed is somewhere between 10 and 15 kts.
Rotated at 70 MPH, started the climbout. The airplane immediately started sliding to the left, drifting downwind. Corrected a bit, but let it go until it was time to make the turn crosswind. Decided right then I was going to do a couple of landings, because before I headed out 100 miles or so for lunch and 100 miles back, I'd like to know what the landing conditions were like. So I turned downwind, and made the radio call (despite there being nobody in the area). That should have clued me. On downwind, I noticed that the wind was not only fairly strong and directly crosswind, it had become highly variable, as well. The airplane was bouncing around quite a bit - not the sudden random jolts of turbulence, but swinging the nose left and right and either sinking or zooming as the wind's vector swiveled from tailwind to headwind.
The first landing I was deliberately trying to use a side slip to correct (ailerons into the wind, opposite rudder to hold centerline) but I didn't get it dialed in right, and I found I was having trouble correcting quickly for wind gusts from the slip so halfway along final approach I converted it to a crab angle. I know that sounds a bit backwards - the slip is faster to correct, usually, I'd guess - but my unfamiliarity with the crosswind sideslip meant I was wobbling around quite a bit, with the upwind wheel and wing low. The crab, while requiring full coordinated aileron/rudder movements to make corrections, let me keep the airplane level, and I was more familiar with it.
Right as I crossed the threshold, there was a particular nasty gust - maybe 18 kts, direct crosswind, up from 13 or so - and I ended up drifting left. I didn't have enough airspeed or altitude to correct back to centerline using a crab, so instead I put a sideslip back in to prevent the airplane from drifting even further left (off the runway) and tried to touch down on the upwind wheel. I was mostly successful, but I did bounce it once and end up squealing tires from touching down at an angle to centerline. No danger, but you know, embarrassing.
So I taxied back and did it again.
This time, I flew around for a bit and called Flightwatch. I asked them for updates on the winds between 7B2 and my proposed destination. They said the winds were around 24-28 kts at my flight altitude, fairly steady, but that the surface winds were predicted to increase steadily throughout the day and that there was a 'moderate turbulence' warning in effect for my whole flight area.
I thanked them, and flew back to the airport, got in the pattern. This time, I stuck with the side slip, and did much better, but the winds were nastier - the gusts were higher and the direction was changing very quickly. I managed to pull off a quite credible landing however - no bouncing, only a minor squeak from the tires - and taxied back in to the ramp. I just felt like the trip wasn't going to be much fun, and had the potential for putting me back around my home airport three hours later with winds that were worse enough to be a real safety issue for me at my skill level.
When I was copying down the Hobbes time on the airplane's clipboard, I noticed that the fuel smartcard - which lives clipped to a lanyard inside the enclosed clipboard - was missing. It wasn't in my pocket.
I sighed, and walked across the ramp to the fueling point. There, still stuck in the fuel pump where I'd left it half an hour earlier, was the card.
Clearly my head wasn't in the right place.
So I put the card back in the clipboard and went back into the office to turn the airplane back in.
The three pilots lounging around there said "We had a pool going."
"Whether you'd be smart enough to come back in when the wind picked up."
"Nah, we all thought you were pretty smart."
It's always nice to know you made the right call.