Touring the US with Kendo UI and a Camper

This summer I was lucky enough to be able to drive my camper to the West Coast to hang out with a bunch of awesome user groups and talk about our Kendo UI library! A week before leaving, I purchased a 1977 Apache Ramada solid state popup, picked up my 11-year old Pomeranian, Toshmagosh, and hit the road on the Kendo Camper Tour!

toshi, me & the apache
Can you tell just how excited Toshi is??

I drove from Ohio to my first stop in San Francisco in 5 days. There were so many stops along the way that I was excited to see but had not realized just how awe-inspiring they would be.

badland national park, SD
Badlands National Park looked like another planet!

George Washingtonโ€™s nose is 21 feet long! Not IRL, just to be clear ๐Ÿ˜›

toshi in the wild
Toshi, the happy camper

Although the sites I passed were amazing, by far, my favorite part was meeting so many awesome organizers, creators and members of all the user groups I got to hang out with. I’ve been working to build up my community in Cincinnati, OH, helping start and run 2 user groups (Cincy Women Who Code and NodeSchool Cincy) as well as support many other groups. It was great to meet people on the West Coast who were actively creating fantastic spaces and events for everyone in their communities.

The Kendo Camper Tour Project: U Go Hue Go

Working as a developer advocate means not only making resources and working with developers to make using Kendo UI easier but also really knowing how to incorporate our libraries with other awesome technologies.

I decided to make a project I could progressively work on and speak about while on the Kendo Camper Tour. The project, deemed ‘U Go Hue Go’, uses the Angular CLI, Kendo UI for Angular, the Philips Hue API and lights as well as Node to talk to the Hue API. I also decided to make this app into a progressive web app which lets me make a great mobile experience and allows my web app to be more reliable when the network is weak or unavailable. I’ll have a blog post talking all about this project (coming soon) but this is what I based all of my talks on while on this tour.

The Journey

To start the trip I had to actually make my way over to California. After a quick stop in Minneapolis to see some friends I found my way across the continent taking a less-direct route in order to see some amazingly beautiful sites in the US.

In total I stopped at (big breath in ๐Ÿ˜ฎ): Minneapolis, MN, Horse Thief Lake Campground, SD, Mt. Timanogos, UT, Winnemucca RV Park, NV and Sunset Campground, CA. Have you ever worked/coded in a car for 10 hours? I do not recommend it. In this case it was definitely more about the day’s destination, NOT the journey ๐Ÿ˜›


Ohio to California

Obligatory spinner while coding.

comfy toshi
Not everyone can be as comfy as Toshmagosh in a car.

WaffleJS

Finally, it was time for my first user group meeting and I couldn’t be more stoked that I was kicking off the tour at WaffleJS! I had heard about WaffleJS a while back when I attended Node Adventure at Walker Creek Ranch in 2015. WaffleJS isn’t just known for having great speakers and performers but also for the karaoke after-party.

Due to Cavaliers/Golden State Warriors game (we don’t need to talk about those results ๐Ÿ˜ฌ) the venue was moved from SOMA StrEAT Food Park to the DNA Lounge. While I was hanging out, eating pizza before the meetup I was able to get onto their WIFI and make my Philips light system work. This was very exciting for the workers and me.

You’re welcome for the light show, DNA Lounge.

The event did not disappoint! The organizers were fun, welcoming and oh, so entertaining. I learned a lot, met amazing people and saw some of the best karaoke I think I’ve ever witnessed.

This is even before the awesome karaoke performers!

The Talks:
Link to wafflejs line up of 7 June 17.

  • The Get Down – Birthing collaboration between Design and Development by Brian Douglas
  • Step by Step – Building a (open-source!) math solver by Evy Kassirer
  • Web Assembly, Numeric Computing, and the Future of the Web by Athan Reines

How awesome is this WaffleJS crowd?!

Bonus material: they give all their speakers this lovely pin that I will cherish forevs.

wafflejs speaker pin
I think this reflects just how happy this pin makes me ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sacramento GDG

Before making my way out to California, I had reached out to Alain Chautard of the Sacramento GDG group and snagged a speaking spot at their June meetup. The organizers gave a really great recap of their trip to the GDG organizer summit and Google IO. We then went through as I live-coded creating an Angular app using the Angular CLI and adding some Kendo UI components to control the Philips Hue lights. I had never been to Sacramento before but if I presume everyone is like the members of the user group, Sacramento is filled with nice people that have great, intellectual questions ๐Ÿ‘Œโ˜‘๏ธ๐Ÿ˜

Sacramento GDG
At the offices of VSP

Remote Workspace: El Dorado National Forest

After Sacramento GDG I had some time before my next user group stop so I settled in at El Dorado National Forest to do more work on the project and catch up on my regular daily work tasks. But there was one thing that I did not remember to prepare for on my Summer trip to the West Coast: โ„SNOW!โ„

An unexpected winter wonderland.

Thankfully, there was a really quaint town a short drive away that had a an awesome coffee shop with WiFi and delicious food, as well as an army surplus store selling thermals and warm socks!

Angular SF

The snow ended just in time for me to head back to San Francisco for the AngularSF meetup! I was hoping to attend both Angular Mountain View and AngularSF but they fell on the same day and I don’t have those time travel skills yet (quantum entanglement is cool and all but let’s quicken the pace, scientists!).

This year at ngConf I got to meet Minko Gechev and he saved me a spot to speak at AngularSF. We had a great meetup with a presentation from Austin Green and Brett Lazarus on Automated API model enforcement with Swagger and TypeScript. We had the event at the Delphix offices then all got to hang out more down the street for a bit.

Photo thanks to the awesome Dan Levy.

The Journey through Endor

After AngularSF, it was time to say goodbye to San Francisco and make my way through California and up into Oregon. While I was in California I stayed at some really beautiful national parks.

inyo national forest
Inyo National Forest

toshmagosh and pinecones
Toshmagosh-sized pine cones

In order to have a WiFi connection for work, I stayed at some RV parks too (side note: a lot of the national parks had decent LTS connection so you can tether your laptop to your cell phone for internet).

outdoor office
Another lovely outdoor office

indoor office
The not-so-bad indoor office

If you are a remote worker who loves the outdoors, I highly recommend camper/RV life. A lot of sites are really wonderful and everyone I met was very friendly. One of my favorite adventures was when I got to walk through Endor, ummm, I mean, Tall Trees Redwood Grove located in the Redwood National Park. I even brought the camper in ๐Ÿ˜‰.

the camper in the Endor trees
It was a wild ride!

DonutJS

After a quick stop at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon it was time to head up to Portland for DonutJS!

Toshi at Deschutes
Don’t worry, she never actually reached the glass (sad Toshi)

Like WaffleJS, I had known about DonutJS since hearing about it through the Node community. Everything about DonutJS was awesome from the organizers and venue, to the super entertaining talks and the killer combinations of donuts and coconut sparkling water.

DonutJS Crowd
Beautiful space for the meetup in Downtown Portland

The Talks:

Link to DonutJS past speakers.

  • Mentorship for Women in STEM by Sara Beroff
  • Goโ€ฆ Advanced Analytics? The Glorious Minutiae of Data in Pro Sports by Ivana McConnell
  • First Thoughts: The Dawn of Flashing Lights or How Trumps Tweetstorms Can Help You Become a Better Sailor by Joel Kraft

Bonus Material: a morse code chandelier!

 

I ran into Craig Dennis and James Churchill from Treehouse who reminded me of just how small and awesome our world is. It turns Craig had my old co-workers do a talk for their IoT workshop and James had just went to dinner with my new co-workers at Code PaLOUsa! Plus, I got to see a buddy I hadn’t seen since Node Interactive 16′ who introduced me to some really great dystopian authors. I so โ™ฅ๏ธ tech communities.

 

Portland JavaScript Admirers

I found the Portland Javascript Admirers group and was immediately intrigued. “I also admire JavaScript๐Ÿ˜ฒ! Can we hang out?”

Janrain hosted the meetup in their office building and it was one of the most interesting spaces I’ve seen thus far. Before I spoke, Phillip Kerman did a presentation on functional programming. After my talk I got to talk shop, electronics and campers with the organizers and some of the local developers. It turned out one of the attendees had actually owned the same model of camper that I was in now when he was growing up. So cool!

Angular PDX & Women Who Code PDX

Another awesome person I got to meet at ngConf this year was Sam Julien. He had seen a thread on the Angular PDX Meetup page where I was trying to get a hold of them to speak at their meetup. But who needs old-fashioned emails when you have ngConf to see each other in-person?!

Angular community unite!!

At yet another amazing conference, Node Interactive in Portland, I met Caterina Paun through our Women Who Code community. We had a great time hanging out and I even attended one of their awesome Women Who Code meetups while I was in town for Node Interactive. I knew I definitely wanted to reach out to her to see if there was a way for me to work with her and WWCPDX while I was in town.

wwc pdx swag
Thank you WWC PDX for the awesome swag!

So, ‘with our powers combined’, we had a fantastic joint meetup with ngPDX and WWCPDX together! It was great having both communities come together to learn and socialize. Thanks goes to the CDK Global crew for hosting everyone for the event!

group fun

Seattle JavaScript Workshop

I decided to reach out to the Seattle JavaScript Workshop group to see if they may need a lightning talk to accompany their awesome talk by Sarah Higley that they already had lined up. Their organizer, Blake Schwartz, was kind enough to let me speak too! Sarah’s talk brought a ton of insight to accessibility on the web and her css foo was on point. I, sadly, didn’t get any pictures but Sarah not only offered me a ride but it was my first time in a Smart car! ๐Ÿš—

sarah teaching
Knowledge from Sarah & and an inspirational quote ๐Ÿ‘

Bonus Material: Before I headed out to hang with the JS Workshop group I got to visit with one of my favorite Redmond buddies, Michael Crump, and a new friend, Jeremy Likness. Look at all the fun we had on the Microsoft campus!

SeattleJS

When I was in Seattle for Microsoft Build this year I got to meet a few of the awesome organizers of SeattleJS. This month their meetup was hosted at Redfin in their swank offices downtown. This was one of the biggest groups I got to hang out with and their organizers are amazing. The group was even organizing their first annual SeattleJS conference, that, of course, sold out!! It is very inspiring to see a group of community leaders doing so much in their city ๐Ÿ˜

View at the Redfin offices

The Talks:
Link to the meetup page.

Angular Seattle

For the very last stop on the Kendo Camper Tour I got to speak at Angular Seattle. It was the perfect way to wrap up the tour! I ran into Mike Morlund at ngConf this year (isn’t ngConf the best?!) at an Angular Community meeting. Craig Nishina, Michael Giambalvo and Mike are building the Angular community back up in Seattle. They kicked it off with an Intro to Angular session and ICE CREAM ๐Ÿฆ!


A group shot of Angular Seattle

An adorable vid of Toshi eating Ice Cream in honor of the Angular Seattle meetup ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was great meeting so many fun, smart people and the talks were very informative and entertaining. Learning a new framework can be a pretty daunting process, so it’s great to have intelligent and helpful people teaching you, being surrounded by peers in the same boat and ICE CREAM ๐Ÿจ!

The Talks:
Link to the Videos

  • Important things about JavaScript that no one bothered to tell you by Phil Berman
  • Ice Cream Fight, An Example Angular App by Michael Giambalvo
  • Router by Mike Morlund

Bonus Material: Before having to head back home I got to grab dinner with my most favorite webpack guru, Sean Larkin, and a new favorite person, Preact creator, Jason Miller. They’re getting really great at this Boomerang thing ๐Ÿ˜„

 

That’s a wrap!

Even though I wasn’t ready for the trip to end, I hadn’t showered since I started 2 month ago, so I had to head home (haha just kidding ๐Ÿ˜›). I had an amazing time with everyone that I met on the road. Big, big thank you’s to all of the group organizers and members that let me become part of your communities!! It was really great sharing Kendo UI with you, learning from all of you and sharing lots of laughs. I hope we all get to cross paths again and if you’re ever in Cincinnati, OH and looking for a community of awesome developers always feel free to message me! Until next time โค๏ธ

 

BONUS Bonus Material: Along with amazing Kendo UI shirts, we were able to give out Philips Hue lights to some lucky attendees to try to follow along with the Kendo Camper Tour project. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some of the awesome winners.

 

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