What's up with the wild melon vines along the Oregon coast?

I just did a road trip through Oregon, and noticed something I thought was really odd: There seem to be a lot of melon vines growing along Route 101, which hardly seems an hospitable area for them. Anybody know what kind they are or how they got there?

My initial thought was that they must have grown from watermelon seeds left by people who stopped at the turnouts along 101 to eat. But the one (immature) fruit I saw had a bunch of spines growing all over it, which didn’t look like any watermelon I’ve seen. (And no, I didn’t think to actually take a picture of it.)

Were they melons or some kind of wild cucumber?

Nope, not a wild cucumber–the leaves were different, and the fruit wasn’t that spiky.

No, but I don’t know exactly where you were, or why you think the area was inhospitable to a vine. Lots of areas along the coastal highway get lots of rain with moderate temperatures.

Okay, could it have been a horned melon, aka kiwano?

It’s possible that it was a horned melon, but I kinda doubt it–the spines were different (the ones I saw were thin and about half an inch to an inch long).

I saw them in several different places between, say, Lincoln City and Brookings. I normally think of melons as being adapted to hotter, drier climates than along the coast. For example, I’ve never seen wild melon vines in the Puget Sound area, and I don’t think they even grow particularly well here.

Oh my goodness, I think I know what you mean! I mean, I don’t know what they’re called or anything, but we used to have a gas station by a river bank that had tons of blackberry vines and melon vines growing behind it. And these melons had weird little bent spines on them. I never knew what they were called, but I’m trying to research it now myself.

I agree, not the horned melon. I’ll let you know what I find.