I went on another cross-country yesterday. Everything was great on the way there. On the way back, though, there were suddenly clouds, so I had to change my whole plan and try not to get lost and meanwhile there was lots of wind. Lots and lots of wind. As in, unless you were out at Auburn airport yesterday, I don't think you understand the magnitude of the wind. It wasn't gusting 50 or anything, but was coming at a 90-degree angle to the runway, and it was between 10 and 15 knots, which is between double and triple my limitation. Oops.
So the first time I tried to land, I didn't get anywhere near the runway before I decided to go around and try again. I wasn't expecting it to be as bad as it was, that's for sure. Somebody behind me landed okay. Then I came back for a second attempt. When I turned base, my airspeed absolutely died. It went from 85 to 55 (should be 75). I almost couldn't get the nose down. When I finally did get facing the runway, I tried to do crosswind correction, only it seems like every time I do that myself it goes horribly wrong, so I reverted to what I usually do: drift sideways down the runway.
The plane floated for forever before going crunch halfway down the runway. I think I was entirely on the left wheel at one point, then I slammed the right one down and skidded sideways. The brakes actually made noises. Bad noises. And they felt weird. I was (am) probably overreacting, it probably wasn't actually that horrible and it might just be that by that point I wanted to be on the ground more than anything in my whole life, but I really thought the gear was going to just collapse. When I finally made my "clear of the runway" radio call, I was having trouble breathing, and I didn't stop shaking until several hours later. My instructor came on the radio and said good job, but I later found out he hadn't seen the landing, so...yay? Another one did, though, and she jokingly complimented me on it later. :P We agreed that since the plane is still usable (more or less) then it was good.
"A good landing is any landing you can walk away from. A great landing is one where they can reuse the plane."
The guy who landed behind me came by later and asked who I was flying with. I said nobody and he responded "We were hoping nobody was soloing up there." Oops.
Aaaaaaaaaaaa planes. I love you so much, why can't we just get along.