1. OMG it's worth it to pay for movers. They are kind of a rip off. Movers for us would've been around $1200, and doing it ourselves the total cost was around $500 (gas being about $150), but the $700 difference would've been a good value in the effort and pain and stress and time.
2. Do not, DO NOT use the U-Haul drive-on car towing thingies. Also don't bother with their insurance. The drive-on car thingy has lots of weird flanges and angles which will scrape the hell out of any car that's at all low (like mine). If your car has very high carriage (lots of clearance) it's fine. Just get the front-wheel tow. It works fine, and you have none of those problems. The U-Haul insurance for towing covers things like lightning, flood, fire. It does not cover damage to your car done by the trailer, or damage to the car from road debris or collision while being towed. Basically anything that's likely to happen and you might want covered, is not covered.
3. Shit, avoid any kind of funny driving situation when driving a big truck with a trailer. Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT ever try to reverse with the trailer other than very simple straight-back reverses. Do not get off any freeway exit you aren't familiar with. Do not pull into a gas station unless you can see an easy path of exit. Holy crap what a nightmare. Also, do not try to do anything with the trailer when parked on a slope. Park on flat ground. (Both my houses are on huge slopes).
4. Mexican day laborers are hella good workers. The U-Haul place on Bayshore in San Francisco has a bunch of day laborers waiting outside and when you come out they ask if you need help. Pick up two of those guys and your truck will be empty in an hour. They work hard for cheap and are very convenient. Our guys spoke broken English, but I have a little Spanish, and between us we did okay. The amount of damage they did was less than when I've used professional bonded movers.
5. If you're parking your moving truck on a steep slope, it's better to park facing downhill than facing uphill. Facing downhill you have to fight the slope to get things out, but that's not too bad. Facing uphill, everything falls out when you open the back, and in fact the pressure of everything trying to fall out might mean you can't even open the back.
6. I learned lots of things about moving out and getting your deposit. Some of these are specific to CA. First of all, generally - if your place is in good shape and you think you might get your whole deposit back, hire professional cleaners to thoroughly clean and you will probably get 100% of your deposit because your landlord doesn't really want to itemize and do all the paperwork to hold some. If your place is in awful shape, don't bother doing anything, they're going to take the whole deposit, just let them. Specifically : A) Landlord must pay you the interest accrued on your held security deposit. B) Landlord must do a pre-moveout inspection to tell you anything you have to fix and must give you a written copy of that. C) If work needs to be done, landlord must take several bids & provide you with receipts for work done. D) Landlord must charge you for damage relative to prorated value. eg. if the carpet cost $1000 to put in and you lived there two years, prorated value might be $800; Landlord can only charge you for damage beyond $200. E) When judging cleanliness, you only need to restore the unit to the state it was at move in. eg. if the walls were dirty at move in, you can have them at the same level of dirty on move out and landlord can't charge you.
7. Get a bigger truck that you think you need. That was bad; we got a 14' truck and started to fill it and realized it was not going to work, so we went back and got a 17' truck and filled that thing to the gills, and still had to load stuff on top of my car and leave some things behind. Also, having a trailer on the truck is 1000X harder than having a bigger truck. It's easier to drive a 20' truck than it is to drive a 12' with a trailer.