The disappearance of free highway maps from many gas stations' counters is a feeble excuse for penny-conscious travelers who get lost, because most state highway departments are still giving away their maps free for the asking. Here are some tips for getting official highway maps of neighboring areas:

District of Columbia -- Go to the D.C. Department of Transportation, Room 519, 415 12th St. NW 20004, or mail to the same address a 7"x10" envelope stamped with 53 cents postage (727-6562).

Maryland -- Write to the Map Distribution Section, 2323 W. Joppa Rd., Brooklandville, Md. 21022 (301/321-3518).

Virginia -- Write to the Virginia Department of Highways and Transporation, Public Relations, 1221 E. Broad St., Richmond, Va. 23219.

West Virginia -- Write to the Community and Environmental Affairs Division, West Virginia Departemnt of Highways, 1900 Washington St. E., Charleston, W.Va. 25305. (304/348-3236).

Delaware -- Write to the Delaware Division of Economic Development, 630 State College Rd., Dover, Del. 19901 (302/736-4254).

Pennsylvania -- Write to the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Travel Development, Room 206, South Office Building, Harrisburg, Pa. 17120 (717/787-5453). forms, it may be an etched glass or crystal vessel used in elegant rest